Tag Archives: fish fillets

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a meal that is not only good for you, but is art to the eyes and music to the taste buds—plus, comes together quickly with a short list of ingredients. Here, Milk Street riffs on Laura Calder’s recipe for a simple yet elegant one-skillet, six-ingredient (not counting the salt and pepper) sautéed fish supper from “French Food at Home.”

This version yields a slightly more substantial vegetable accompaniment to serve with the fillets but is equally easy to prepare. Green beans are used, but if you prefer, use pencil-thin asparagus instead. However, Milk Street notes it serves four, and while we halved the amount of snapper for the two of us, the full amount of green beans and tomatoes was kept intact, yet we consumed all of them between the two of us. If serving a starch such as rice or potatoes, it probably won’t be much of an issue.

Red snapper is a mild, firm-textured white fish that holds up nicely to sautéing. Flounder is a good alternative, as it typically is of the same thickness as snapper. Halibut works nicely, too, but the fillets are thicker (and more expensive!) and therefore require a few more minutes in the pan. One misstep on our end was forgetting to remove the fish skin which caused the fillets to curl in the pan.

Tip: Don’t fuss with the fish once it’s in the skillet. Allowing the fillets to cook undisturbed for a few minutes gives them a chance to develop a well-browned crust. To flip each one, slide a metal spatula underneath and, as you turn it, support the fillet your free hand. Gentle handling helps prevent the flaky flesh from breaking.

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 6-oz. skinless red snapper fillets (½ to 1 inch thick)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar


  1. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the beans and cook, stirring only once or twice, until spottily browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to char and burst and the beans are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter.
  2. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the fillets skinned side up and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each fillet, then add the butter while swirling the pan. Cook over medium-high, occasionally basting the fish with the fat, until the fillets are opaque throughout, about another 3 minutes. Using the spatula, place the fillets on top of the vegetables.
  3. Set the skillet over medium, add the vinegar and cook, stirring to combine with the fat, just until heated through, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture over the fish.


Adapted the recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Chive-Shallot Butter

For deep flavor and a handsomely browned surface, the practice of pan-searing fish fillets on a hot stove and finishing them in the oven is your best bet. This luscious recipe is very simple and takes very little time to prep and cook.

The idea for the butter mixture is that the heat from the salmon will melt just enough of the butter to sauce it lightly and leave a small amount unmelted so it’s apparent when served at the table. Our side dish of Roasted Fennel with Orange-Honey Dressing was a perfect complement to the salmon.

TIP: A metal fish spatula is a great kitchen tool to have, especially if you often cook fish at home. The thin-gauge, flexible metal head is designed to flip and lift delicate fish fillets without tearing them.

Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Chive-Shallot Butter

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 center-cut salmon fillets, about 6-8 oz. each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil, grapeseed oil, or other neutral tasting oil

Chive-Shallot Butter

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped chives
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground balck pepper


  1. Position a rack near the center of the oven and preheat to 425° (400° convection). Let the salmon sit at room temperature as the oven heats.
  2. Set a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season it liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the oil to the skillet. When it begins to shimmer, lower in the filets one by one, skin side up. Sear, without disturbing, until one side is nicely browned, lifting with a metal spatula (or fish spatula if you have one) to check that it’s well seared before committing to flipping, 1-2 minutes. Flip the filets and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.
  4. Roast until the thickest part of the filets are just firm to the touch, 5-7 minutes (or when an instant-read thermometer reads 130-135 for medium-rare). Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and serve the fish right away.
  5. For the Chive-Shallot Butter: Combine the wine or vermouth and shallots in your smallest saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes; keep an eye on it so that the shallots don’t scorch. Set aside to cool.
  6. Pound the chives with a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large mortar to make a coarse paste (or grind in a small food processor).
  7. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or paddle beater, beat until smooth.
  8. Add the wine-shallot mixture, the pounded chives, and the mustard and lemon juice and stir until everything is incorporated. season with salt and pepper.
  9. If you plan to serve the butter within a few hours, scrape into a small ramekin; other wise cover and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.


Recipe from Molly Stevens “All About Roasting” cookbook.