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How To Pan Sear Fish Successfully

Updated on January 23, 2016

Pan Seared Tilapia

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Pan searing is a speedy method to prepare fish, especially if you do not have a grill. In fact, not having access to a grill is what motivated me to start experimenting with cooking fish in other ways. Pan searing is a healthier option compared to deep frying, which often involves breading the fish with unhealthy ingredients. Pan searing can be tricky if you do not know exactly what you are doing. I am sorry to say I ruined quite a lot of fish before discovering how to pan sear fish correctly. Along the way I picked up a few tips, which made the process much easier and less stressful. In this lens I will share with you the knowledge I had to learn the hard way, and soon you will be Pan Searing Fish Successfully.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 6 min
Ready in: 11 min
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • Fish of your choice
  • 2-3 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Adobo
Saute Pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Saute Pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Source

Instructions:

1. Add 2 Tbsps of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to sauté pan. Spread oil with a basting brush until it entirely coats the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to medium high heat.

Source

2. Gather your seasonings before you begin to season the fish. For this recipe I am using EVOO, adobo, and garlic powder.

4. Place the fish onto a cutting board and baste with small amount of EVOO. Sprinkle adobo and garlic powder over each piece of fish. If you prefer different seasonings, simply substitute them here. For this lens I am using tilapia, but the process is the same for any fish.

Using paper towels to remove excess water from uncooked tilapia.
Using paper towels to remove excess water from uncooked tilapia. | Source

3. I have learned removing excess water from my fish using paper towels results in a crispier crust during the cooking process. For this lens I am using one of my favorite types of fish, tilapia.

Uncooked tilapia after EVOO, adobo, and garlic powder has been added.
Uncooked tilapia after EVOO, adobo, and garlic powder has been added. | Source
Tilapia at the beginning of the cooking process
Tilapia at the beginning of the cooking process | Source

5. Once your pan is hot, carefully place the fish into the skillet to keep from splattering hot oil onto yourself. I often wear long sleeves to protect my arms from any hot oil that might pop onto me as I turn the fish.

6. Tilapia cooks very quickly, usually three minutes per side is adequate, which is why I choose it over other fish. If the fish flakes easily with a fork, it is done and ready to serve.

Pan Seared Tilapia ready to eat
Pan Seared Tilapia ready to eat | Source

7. When the fish is ready to serve you can pair it with any number of side dishes. In this photo, it is served with yellow rice and sauteed spinach, but you could substitute pasta or quinoa in place of rice.

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Do you like cooking fish by pan searing it? Do you like fish? Hate fish? Thanks for stopping by and visiting my lens! Please leave me a comment!!

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    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @David Stone1: I am so glad you found my article so informative and helpful DaveStone13!!! You are correct, the simpler a recipe the harder it is!! Thanks for stopping by my lens and for the squid like!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      I've never tried frying fish before, but this simple how-to is giving me the confidence to try. Fish is simple, but so easy to mess up. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @MariaMontgomery: Thanks for stopping by my lens Mia-Mia! I hope you find pan searing as easy as I do. Thanks for the squid like, comment and pin!!

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 3 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Thanks so much for sharing this cooking technique. I haven't tried it myself, but will do so soon. I have pinned this to my board entitled, Only the Best Recipes & Kitchen Tips.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @Colonel2013: Thanks for visiting my lens and for the squid like! Your feedback is much appreciated!

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      Colonel2013 3 years ago

      I love fish and this is a wonderful article with easy to follow instructions. Thanks for sharing!

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @sara0129: I have made salmon this way too and it is so good. Salmon just takes a little longer than tilapia. I hope you enjoy the dish and thanks for dropping by lens and for the comment tipsanddeals!!

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      Shamim Rajabali 3 years ago from Texas

      I have done this with salmon. Will try with tilapia now.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image
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      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      @Merrci: Thanks for visiting my lens and for the squid like!!! Much appreciated Merrci.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Looks great! The crisp look to it makes it even more appealing. I'll have to try it with tilapia.