Pan-fried bass with lemon garlic herb sauce is a magnificently tasty dinner, that’s ready in a snap. Garlic, lemon, thyme, oregano, and white wine make a lush, yet still fresh, sauce that will complement anything you serve with it.
I began cooking under the watchful eye of my mother and grandmother in the uptown New Orleans home where I grew up. From these talented home cooks, I learned to prepare the venerable dishes of the city. I’ve had the opportunity to travel through Louisiana many, many times, learning about the multi-faceted cuisine of the state. This pan-fried bass comes from the Rapides Parish, in the heart of Louisiana.–Kevin Belton
Pan-Fried Bass with Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds bass fillets*
- 1 to 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade Creole seasoning
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more if needed
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup low sodium canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Pat fish dry with a paper towel and sprinkle Creole seasoning on both sides.
- In a shallow dish, mix together flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge each piece of fish in the flour mixture, coating the entire surface then shaking off any excess.
- In a large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the oil.
- Cook fish in the skillet until golden brown and fully cooked, about 3 minutes per side. (Don't move the fish too much, especially if you are using a pan that isn’t non-stick, otherwise, the fish may stick to the bottom and not get browned as nicely as it should.) Move the fish from the skillet to a plate.
- Turn down heat to low. Add white wine to the skillet to deglaze, stir up any browned bits. Continue cooking until almost all of the wine has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 more tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Once melted, add garlic and fresh herbs to the skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and stir in remaining butter and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Divvy fish among plates and drizzle the sauce over.
*What can I substitute for bass?One of the most popular fish eaten, bass is loved for its meatiness and flaky white meat. Besides that, it’s pretty easy to find and affordable. Halibut and cod are great subs though, in case you need one.
*How do I cook skin-on fish?This is a small detail but an important one if you’re planning to share dinner with someone. Starting with your fillet skin-side down will ensure that you have a nicer presentation, making you look like the super proficient home cook that you are. If you’re not using a non-stick pan, don’t force the fillet before it’s ready to flip either.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I cooked bass that my husband caught in the spring. He caught quite a bit so I was happy to find a new preparation. The flavors in this sauce are light, fresh, and lemony. It would be good on just about any fish and probably some veggies too. The fresh herbs and garlic smelled heavenly while cooking.
I used store-bought chicken stock which tends to be salty and in this case, it made the sauce a little too salty for my taste. When I make this pan-fried bass with lemon garlic herb sauce again I’ll use homemade stock or eliminate the teaspoon of added salt and adjust at the end as needed. I suggest a good baguette to soak up the extra sauce. I served this with roasted zucchini and summer squash and tomato and fresh mozzarella salad.
The Cajun seasoning drew me to this recipe for pan-fried bass with lemon garlic herb sauce, as it seemed a bit different than traditional pan-fried fish dishes. I used the Cajun spice mix from the LC site for this recipe, so it had a nice, subtle heat that worked very well with the garlic lemon herb sauce.
The fish cooked in about 3 minutes per side, and while they rested, the actual sauce came together in about 10 minutes. This is definitely one of those recipes to keep in the old recipe Rolodex! I used the leftovers for a fish sandwich the next day.
Originally published September 24, 2021