Brown Butter White Fish

Brown Butter White Fish
From Jeremiah Bacon, via Tasting Table

SB12!!!!!  No, I’m not a 19 year old gearing up for a road trip to Fort Laudy or foam parties in Acapulco.  But I am a grad student who is pretty super psyched about her last official spring break ever!  For the 3rd straight year we are packing up the flip flops, shorts, bathing suits, and now two dogs (plus one doggy life jacket for the Portuguese Water Dog, oy) for our annual trek to Marco Island, Florida.

If you are reading this on Friday you’d be accurate to imagine us cruising through Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky/Tennessee/Georgia/Florida listening to Harry Potter books on tape (don’t judge, the narrator won a Grammy for heaven’s sake!) and praying that Lucy doesn’t puke on Ralph (the puking itself is inevitable, we’re just asking for some aim!).  What we won’t be doing is eating anything blog-worthy.  We completed our pre-road trip grocery shopping trip Wednesday and passed through the checkout lane with looks of deep shame combined with unadulterated excitement on our faces.  Gummy bears, Goldfish, peanut butter and fluff for sandwiches, popcorn, pretzel rods, the list goes on.  Combine that with fast food pit stops every four hours and this Friday, March 16 will not likely top our list of gourmet life experiences.  But the 7 days that follow, that’s a whole different ball game.

Marco Island in March is pure heaven for a freshness-deprived Chicagoan.  Their YEAR ROUND farmers market is open every Wednesday and Saturday, the fish markets are brimming with fresh local, catches, and grilling weather occurs daily.  One of the most popular fishes is locally caught grouper, which is precisely why I saved this email from Tasting Table back in November.  We tried it out last week with bass at home and it was absolutely out of this world.  Like, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, when can I make it again, obsessed.  Luckily for me, that chance is just 6 states and 5 fast food meals away.


  • 8 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup dry/powdered milk (I found this in a box, near the Almond milk shelves…you might want to ask if you can’t find it at first)
  • 4 6-oz skin-on mild but meaty white fish, such as bass or grouper (skin on is CRUCIAL in this recipe)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a sweet mashed veggie to go on the side – I would highly recommend mashed sweet potatoes, parsnips, or carrots


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Cook, stirring often, until the butter is browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the powdered milk.
  5. Spread the mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake until browned and crunchy, about 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer crumbles to a paper towel and set aside.
  7. Season fish with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet.
  9. Place fish in skillet, skin side down.  Cook until flaky, using a brush to baste the fish with the butter and juice runoff in the pan every 2-3 minutes.  Cook time will vary greatly based on the type of fish you use.  Our bass took almost 20 minutes.  You NEVER flip it, the cooking just works its way up the meat until it’s flaky and done right up to the top.  In a fishy miracle, the skin can withstand burning throughout this long cook time.
  10. Serve fish topped with brown butter crumble.

Serves 4.

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2 Responses to Brown Butter White Fish

  1. Maureen says:

    Don’t make it before Monday night, please!!!

  2. Doreen Dodero says:

    I’m suprised by the powered milk idea. Very interesting.

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