Basic Fish Filets

  • Yield: 4 servings


4 to 6 fish filets
1tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the fish on a firm surface and pat dry with paper towels.  If the fillets are large, they can be cut into individual portions, which will make them easier to turn and less likely to fall apart.  Measure the thickness of the fish at its thickest point to help determine cooking time (see step 4 below).
  2. Heat oil in a heavy skillet, large enough to hold the fish comfortably in a single layer, until hot and smoking.  If the fish will be crowded, use two skillets.
  3. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the fish to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning once with a wide spatula, until the fish are opaque and flake easily when tested with the tip of a knife.  (Exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets.)

Note: Use the Canadian rule to gauge total cooking time: using the thickness of the fish at its thickest point, estimate 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness.  One-half-inch thick fillets cook within 4 to 5 minutes; one-inch thick fillets cook within 9 to 11 minutes.