Pan-Seared Rockfish Recipe

If you're a seafood fan, you've probably had your fair share of fish. Maybe you regularly reach for salmon, trout, or a tropical fish like mackerel or mahi mahi, but have you heard of rockfish? "I live in Maryland, where rockfish is the state fish," recipe developer Molly Madigan Pisula says. "It's meaty and mild, and often a very sustainable choice as well if you buy U.S. wild-caught rockfish." Pisula's recipe for pan-seared rockfish is a great introduction to this fish, and it's packed with flavor thanks to ingredients like capers, brown butter, and fresh dill.

"I love this recipe because it is quick to make but has so much flavor! Truly, a restaurant-caliber meal in 20 minutes," Pisula adds. That doesn't mean this pan-seared rockfish requires anything too fancy. "The special ingredient in this recipe is flour," Pisula explains. "You can leave the flour out and just pan-sear the fillets on their own, but just a little coating of seasoned flour really makes a big difference in building that delicious golden brown crust." If you're ready to expand your fish horizons, then let's dive right into this recipe.

Get your rockfish ingredients ready

Cooking a delicious meal gets a lot easier if you're prepared, and this rockfish recipe is no exception. Start with your rockfish fillets — prep them by rinsing the pieces with cool water and patting them dry. You'll also need capers, fresh dill, the juice and zest of a lemon, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, and that all-too important flour.

Melt butter and dredge fillets

Once your ingredients are ready, start by combining the flour, salt, and pepper and heating some butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium. Coat both sides of your fish in the flour mixture. "With a good pan-seared recipe, you want to get a nice crust on the fish fillets," Pisula says, noting that the addition of the pantry staple flour doesn't just help with crisping up the fish, it also "helps seal in moisture and flavor."

Cook the rockfish

Place your dredged rockfish fillets in the hot pan and let them cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Once one side of the fish has nicely browned, flip the pieces over and let the other side get a nice even sear. To help that process along, press on each fillet with a spatula. Once both sides are done, take the fish out of your skillet.

Make the brown butter sauce

Now that your fish is done, it's time to brown some butter. Turn the heat down on the stove and add the rest of your butter to the pan. When it starts becoming dark and smelling nice and nutty, stir in the dill, some lemon zest and juice, and capers and let the mixture cook for just a bit more. Take it off the heat, taste it, and see if it needs any extra lemon, pepper, or anything else.

Garnish, serve, and enjoy

Now that rockfish and sauce and both complete, all you have to do is combine the two — for an extra flourish, scatter some more dill on top once you've plated the dish. If you're looking for something to serve with your fish, Pisula recommends "rice or roasted potatoes or ... some buttered noodles. Anything that you might want to drizzle that delicious sauce over. Goes with all vegetables too — try it next to steamed green beans, broccoli, or asparagus."

If you end up with extra rockfish, Pisula says to "store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. With fish, I don't recommend keeping for very long, even refrigerated. That said, you can definitely keep for 24 hours. Reheat either in the microwave, or in a nonstick skillet over medium heat — you may want to cover the skillet so it heats through more quickly." Once you try this simple yet flavorful rockfish recipe, you'll surely be adding it to your seafood repertoire.

Pan-Seared Rockfish Recipe
5 from 55 ratings
Switch things up in the kitchen and give this pan-seared rockfish recipe a try.
Prep Time
Cook Time
close-up of rockfish with capers and herbs
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 4 rockfish fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill, divided
  1. Rinse rockfish fillets in cold water, then pat dry.
  2. Zest and juice lemon the lemon.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a shallow plate.
  4. Heat 1 of tablespoon butter and the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  5. Dredge the rockfish fillets in the flour mixture one at a time, and add to skillet when butter has melted. Discard the extra flour.
  6. Pan-sear the fillets for 5 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom, then flip to brown the other side. Flatten the fillets gently with a spatula to ensure even browning.
  7. When the second side has browned (about 3-4 minutes) and fillets are cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
  8. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan, and turn the heat down to low.
  9. When the butter starts to brown (this should take 1-2 minutes), add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, capers, and 1 tablespoon of dill, and cook for 30 seconds.
  10. Turn off the heat and taste the sauce, adding more lemon juice, salt, and/or pepper as desired.
  11. Drizzle the sauce over fillets, garnishing with more chopped dill.
Calories per Serving 402
Total Fat 23.9 g
Saturated Fat 10.7 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 133.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 0.4 g
Sodium 429.8 mg
Protein 36.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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