Perfectly Seared Fish with Fennel Arugula Salad

Perfectly Seared Fish with Fennel Arugula Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Rating:


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon meyer lemon juice, or mild vinegar
dollop honey
salt and pepper
2 handfuls arugula
1 small bulb fennel, or 1/2 large bulb fennel, shaved into thin slivers
1 orange, supremed into sections
1 handful olives, pulled into pieces

3/4 pound skin-on fish fillets, all pin bones removed, cut into two pieces
2-3 tablespoons high heat oil, such as grapeseed or canola
salt and pepper
olive oil


Take the fish out of the refrigerator, and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to take the chill off. Mix together the dressing ingredients until combined. Toss the salad with the dressing, and divide onto two plates.

Blot the fish dry with paper towels or brown paper bags, and season each side with salt. Heat a large skillet or two small ones over a high heat. Add the oil, and let get really hot, almost to the point of smoking (handy tip: when the oil's hot, if you stick a wooden spoon in it should bubble vigorously around the edges). Add the fish, skin side down, and turn down the heat just slightly. Cook until the skin detaches from the skillet, and the fillet slides around a bit when you shake the pan (~2 minutes). If it's a thick fillet, wait another minute past this point, then flip the fillets with a spatula (in order to avoid dramatic fires that can result from hot oil splashes, I pull the pan away from the burner for the few seconds it takes to execute this maneuver). Cook on the other side until the fillets are cooked through, another two minutes or so, depending upon thickness (Lopez-Alt recommends cooking to 120 degree internal temperature, but I just went by sight and then tested them).


Use a spatula to remove from the pan, let the fry oil drain a bit, then plate with the salad. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with additional olive oil.