Pan-Roasted Striped Bass


Think Like a Chef

Published by Clarkson Potter

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Any firm-fleshed fish (such as halibut, cod, snapper, salmon, grouper, etc.) may be substituted for the bass. Just make sure that the filets are about 1 inch thick or adjust the cooking time accordingly.


Cooking MethodPan-frying



OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and TextureButtery, Crisp, Herby, Savory


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 1-inch-thick, center-cut striped bass fillets (6 ounces each), skin on
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Coarse sea salt


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it slides easily across the pan. Dry the fillets thoroughly with paper towels, season them with kosher salt and pepper on both sides, then add them, skin-side down, to the skillet. Reduce the heat (the oil should sizzle, not sputter) and cook the fillets until the skins crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and gently brown the other side, about 3 minutes more.

  2. Add the butter and thyme. Continue cooking the fillets, turning them over once or twice (so that they brown evenly) and basting with the lightly browning butter. Cook until the fish is opaque, about 4 minutes more. Serve at once, drizzled with the browned butter and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

The Skin of the Fish:

Ask anyone what the best part of a fried chicken is and they’ll tell you: the crispy, flavorful skin. The same holds true for the skin of the fish. I’m always amazed to see, when plates are cleared in my restaurants, how many people carefully peel the skin off and leave it aside. If you brown the skin correctly in the pan, it will form a delicious crisp crust, which I defy anyone to throwaway! In order to cook the fillet evenly, though, remember to cook the skin side a little longer than the other, since the layer of fat just under the skin insulates the flesh and slows down the cooking.


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