Pan-Fried Fish

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare any sort of white fish. While you can use tuna and salmon, I think they’re much better cooked other ways.

This isn’t really a recipe, in the sense of giving specific ingredients and amounts, just “how I do it” along with a couple of tips that give me great results every time.

Pat fillets dry and place on a plate or cutting board.

Sprinkle corn flour (masa) over the fillets, then flip fillets over and wiggle them around so they are totally covered.

  • You can use white or wheat flour, but I like the slightly crunchy texture that the corn flour adds, not to mention the slightly different taste.
  • Corn flour is usually with the Mexican foods at the grocery — be sure not to get the tortilla mix! You can also use corn meal, but corn flour has a smoother texture.

Sprinkle fillets with salt, pepper and garlic (or your favorite combination) — I often use Montreal Steak Seasoning as a close and good substitute. Cajun Spice Mix is also good, as is Mrs. Dash.

Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a skillet over almost-high heat until it is sizzling but not smoking.

Place the fillets in the pan and cook 2 to 5 minutes depending on how thick they are.  Bottom should be nicely golden before you flip them.  Carefully turn with a broad spatula so the fillets don’t come apart.

Use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness after a further 2 to 5 minutes. Insert it into the center of the fillet; when done, it will read 135º F. (download my PDF of all instant-read temperatures). Using a thermometer to check for doneness is the biggest tip I have for cooking fish and having it turn out well. I was always afraid of having underdone fish that I would cook it until dry and awful.

NOTE: you can also cook the fillets on the grill — we use our barbecue sheet and have great results. Again, check for doneness with a thermometer.

Serve and enjoy!

Want more boat-friendly recipes? Check out The Boat Galley Cookbook with over 800 recipes or get a free PDF sample of it with 30 recipes:


P.S. There are complete directions — with photos — for filleting fish in The Boat Galley Cookbook. Sorry, but they’re not in the sample.

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  • The Jedi Fisherman
    Posted at 18 March 2017 Reply

    love the page

  • Tory Fine
    Posted at 18 March 2017 Reply

    Have you tried coconut flour? Wondering if that would be good too!

  • Lisa Witty Bromund
    Posted at 18 March 2017 Reply

    I love this page too!! Getting so many tips for when we do the Loop! We use Paul Perdhommes seafood magic. Sprinkle on both sides of the fillet, wrap it in foil and throw it on the grill. Saves on clean up and really tasty.

  • Linda Stevenson
    Posted at 18 March 2017 Reply

    I like to place filets in a pan with butter and a little oil. Then I cover the filet in pulverized almonds (or any nut) and press them into the filet with the back of a spoon. Flip with a spatula and repeat. I’ll cover the pan with a lid as needed to be sure the fish is cooked through and to reduce splatter. I prefer nuts to help reduce the carbs from bread crumbs/ flours. Sometimes I’ll also add flaked coconut!

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