One fish two fish red fish … green fish

(Yes, that’s a Dr. Seuss reference – I am continuing with the children’s literature theme for today :)

This is a quick post about a quick fish! I am not much of a wine drinker, but I am a sucker for white wine reductions. Herby ones with a kiss of butter are best of all.

This is my quick, “dirty” version of a delicate herbed white wine cream sauce. It is layered, but those layers are built quickly. The whole thing comes together in just a few minutes – enough time for you to oven-roast a pan of asparagus and slice some nice crusty bread for sauce-sopping. Tonight we added a salad of spring greens with apples, gorgonzola, almonds and cranberries. But really, for me, the sauce and the bread (and okay, the fish) would have been enough.

Use a nice white wine – it certainly needn’t be fancy, but should definitely be drinkable. You only use half a cup of wine in the sauce, so that leftover bottle will be at the table for dinner – make it tasty, and have a nice weekend.


Fish in Quick and Easy Herbed White Wine Sauce with lemon and butter
Lots of different fish will do well here – we have used sea bass, cod, halibut … use whatever is fresh and MSC certified. For us tonight that meant a long fillet of Alaska cod, which I cut in half before cooking so it would fit into my skillet without needing to be folded!

Fish fillet (ours was 3/4 pound, because that is a nice dinner for my family – but as long as it fits in your pan anything is fine – you’ll need to adjust your poaching time depending on the thickness of the cut. I have our fish monger remove the skin but you wouldn’t have to if you like it on.)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups vegetable stock, warmed (I cheat and make mine with Rapunzel brand bouillon)
Juice and zest from one lemon
1/2 cup chardonnay or other white wine
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh garden herbs (tonight, I used lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and a few chives)
1 (more) tablespoon butter

Melt the (first) tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is warm and the butter melted, add the fish, skin side up, and let it cook for thirty seconds to a minute. Flip it over. Pour the warm vegetable stock into the pan, and simmer the fish to poach it (it should be opaque all the way through – for my cod, which was about 3/4 inch thick, this took only a couple minutes). Remove the fish from the pan and let it rest on a plate. Turn the heat up to high, and let the stock reduce until you have just a half cup or so left in the pan.

While the stock is reducing, chop your herbs and mix them with the lemon zest.

Once the stock is reduced, lower the heat slightly and add the wine and lemon juice. Swirl them around and let everything heat up, and then let it reduce again, so that the sauce thickens and starts to coat your spoon (this will take a few minutes). Once your sauce is looking sauce-like, turn off the heat. Swirl in the (second) tablespoon of butter and about a third of the herb-lemon zest mixture. Keep swirling while the butter melts.

Serve with the remaining herbs spread over top. And lots of crusty bread for sauce-sopping :)

2 thoughts on “One fish two fish red fish … green fish

  1. I love how you use butter so generously; it reminds me of your dad who also loves to use butter generously. YUM!

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