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Pan Fried Fish with Citrus Butter Sauce

  • Author: Taming of the Spoon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



For the sauce

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the fish

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 (6 ounce) grouper fillets (or other firm white fish such as mahi-mahi)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for frying


For the sauce

  1. Combine wine, grapefruit juice, orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, shallots, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Boil mixture over medium-high heat until it is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 15-20 minutes. Add cream and boil until mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup again, 1-3 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
  2. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time, adding the next piece of butter before the previous one has completely melted. Lift pan off heat as necessary to keep sauce from getting too hot if butter begins to melt too quickly and the sauce separates. Once all the butter is mixed in, stir in parsley. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Set the pan over a saucepan of warm water, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce warm while cooking the fish. Don’t let the sauce get too hot.

For the fish

  1. Make the egg batter by whisking together the eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt in a cake pan or pie plate. Set aside.
  2. Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Put the flour on a plate. Coat each fillet lightly with flour on both sides, shaking off any excess flour. Then submerge the fish fillets in the egg batter. Turn the fish to coat both sides evenly.
  3. Pour about 1/4 inch oil into a large non-stick skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, lift the fish from the egg batter one piece at a time, allowing excess batter to drip off, and carefully add fillets to skillet. Cook, until golden brown and crisp on the underside, about 5-7 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until golden brown and crisp on the second side, 3 to 5 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fillet. Drain fish fillets on paper towels. To serve, place a fillet on a plate and spoon some of the citrus butter sauce over the fish.


Recipe for sauce adapted from Gourmet Magazine, February 2006.

Recipe for fish adapted from New York Times.