Pan-Seared Tarragon Amberjack (Whitefish) Fillet
I love recipes for simple meals that can be quickly thrown together mid-week with very little effort. This is one of my “go to” methods for cooking white fish, simple and quick yet delicious. This recipe could be made with any substantial whitefish fillet. Grouper and halibut would be particularly good substitutes for amberjack. Cod, snapper, sole, skate, perch, bass, tilapia and even hake would work too. My amberjack fillet was close to 1 inch thick on the thicker side. You will have to adjust your cooking time if you are using a thinner or thicker fillet (shouldn’t vary too much from fish to fish though). I absolutely love the combination of fresh tarragon with white fish (it’s good with chicken too). Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the fish right before serving and it’s perfect!
This is one time where I feel like a non-stick frying pan really makes a difference to the ease of cooking (and cleaning!), but if you don’t like using non-stick cookware, a stainless steel frying pan or even very well-seasoned cast iron pan will work too (for stainless steel or cast iron, increase the cooking fat to 4 Tbsp).
- 2 6-8oz amberjack fillets (or substitute your favorite whitefish)
- ¼ cup fresh tarragon chopped (or substitute with 3 Tbsp good quality Dried Tarragon)
- 2 Tbsp cooking fat (I used 1 Tbsp each of Tallow and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil; Unsalted Butter would work too)
- Fresh lemon to garnish
1. Heat oil in a large bottomed non-stick frying pan (if you have a smaller pan and/or larger fillets, you may have to cook them one at a time) over medium to medium-high heat (note that non-stick pans should never be heated over high heat; follow the directions for your pan for the highest recommended temperature setting).
2. Coat both sides of your fillets with chopped tarragon (it should stick fairly easily, if not rinse your fish and pat dry with paper towel and try again).
3. Place fish in pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on the first side, until the edges are turning opaque and you can see some browning when you peak underneath).
4. Flip and cook for 4-5 minutes on the second side, until fish is opaque throughout and segments flake apart. (Tip: I find that an Large Pancake Flipper can make flipping and serving more delicate white fish like tilapia much easier)
5. Serve with lemon slices or wedges. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over your fish, to taste, and enjoy!