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Pan-Fried Bass with Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce

A white dinner plate with 2 filets of pan-fried bass with lemon garlic herb sauce, a fork, and 2 slices of lemon.
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.
Kevin Belton

Prep 20 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 35 mins
Entree
Southern
4 servings
336 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 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

Directions 

  • 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.

Notes

*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.