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Pan-Seared Cod with Lemon-Caper Pan Sauce


  • Pacific Cod
  • All White Fish
  • Italian
  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Active Time:20 min
  • Total Time:20 min
  • Servings:2
  • Difficulty:Easy
Photo by Julia Gartland

This quick and easy cod recipe comes together in minutes. Crusty bread is a must  to soak up the delicious pan sauce.


  • 2 white fish fillets, (each 5 to 6 ounce) such as Pacific cod, lingcod, or rockfish Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour for dusting

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons small capers, drained

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Crusty bread for serving


Prep the Fish

Sprinkle the fish generously with salt and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Rinse the fish and pat very dry with paper towels. Put the flour and beaten egg into 2 separate bowls and season each with a pinch of salt and pepper. Dust the fish with flour, tapping off the excess, then dip into the beaten egg. Dust the fish with flour, once again, tapping off any excess.

Cook the Fish

In a medium nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the fish and cook without disturbing until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fish and cook until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Transfer the fish to a platter. Pour off the oil and wipe out the skillet.

Make the Pan Sauce and Serve

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, the garlic, and capers to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and ¼ cup water. Increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook, shaking and swirling the pan occasionally until the sauce is emulsified. Stir in the lemon zest, then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Return the fish to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices, and turn the fillets to coat in the sauce. Divide the fillets between 2 plates. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Pair it Up

Look for a medium-bodied white wine with some acidity to balance the richness of this herb-infused butter sauce. Sauvignon blanc from California or Argentina is always a good choice.

Level it Up

This preparation works well with halibut, sablefish, or salmon fillets.

Change it Up

Fold flaked fish and the pan sauce into warm pasta, adding a few tablespoons of broth or butter to add moisture and richness.

Lighten it Up

Serve steamed or sautéed broccoli alongside.


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