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Sautéed Fish Filets with Anchovy / Lemon Sauce Recipe

This reads like a complicated recipe, but believe me it isn’t. It’s probably the simplest, quickest way to prepare fish filets that I have ever heard of. Serves two.

Utensils needed:

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12- to 14-inch heavy frying pan
Shallow soup dish or similar shaped dish or small tray
Lemon squeezer (or bottled lemon juice)
Two spatulas
Oven mitts
Serving platter


1 to 1¼ lbs. fish filets
1 C. flour
2 T. lemon juice
Fresh parsley for garnish
6 T. clarified butter*
1 t. anchovy paste
½ C. dry vermouth (Italian)

Preheat oven to 250° with serving platter on center rack.

Stir anchovy paste into lemon juice and side aside. Dry filets well between paper towels. Place flour in soup bowl. Over high heat melt clarified butter until hot. Dredge filets (both sides) in flour and place in hot butter, Fish should sizzle as it’s placed in pan, otherwise butter is not hot enough. Cook for several minutes or until fish turns light golden brown. Check by lefting up an end slightly and peeking under it. Flip filets with spatulas preventing fish from falling apart. Brown on other side for several more minutes. Remove carefully to platter and place in oven to keep warm.

Pour out any remaining butter and return pan to high heat. Add wine and stir and scrape pan (it’s called deglazing) until all brown bits are loosened from pan bottom and alcohol is cooked from wine. Stir in anchovy lemon mixture, cook over high heat until reduced and slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over fish. Decorate platter with sprigs of parsley.

*Note: Clarified butter is made by melting one pound of unsalted butter in a small pot over very low heat. As soon as butter is melted, remove from heat, carefully spoon off the foam on top and discard it. You will see a clear liquid with milky colored solids at the bottom. It is these solids that cause butter to burn over high heat. Carefully pour off the clear liquid into a container (I use a one-pint plastic with snap on lid). What is left is water and the solids, and a small amount of butter which cannot be saved. Clarified butter may be frozen and will hold for months. When using it from the frozen state let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to cut with a sharp knife which has been dipped in hot water. Return the remainder to the freezer. One pound of butter will yield approximately ½ pound of clarified, sweet butter contains less water than salted butter.

Also see: Fish cookbooks

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