This quick and easy recipe for pan seared red snapper with lemon butter sauce uses just a few ingredients to let the seafood flavors shine through!
why we love this recipe
This fancy but super quick and easy seafood supper comes to you courtesy of the fact that I kept seeing lovely red snapper fillets in my supermarket seafood case, and one day I just decided to make it.
I’ve had red snapper in restaurants, and it has a delicious, mild, almost nutty flavor, but for some reason I had never tried to create a recipe around it. It’s a little expensive, but one day I just decided to go for it.
So! Not only did I not want to mess this up because I never want to mess up supper, but there was also thousands of dollars on the line. Okay, there was $12 on the line, but still.
So I went for the classic, simple combo of butter, capers and one of the Southern husband’s all time favorite flavors, lemon. And I fiddled back and forth with this sauce until I had just the right combo of those simple but delectable flavors.
And now I know how to cook red snapper! And so can you.
ingredients you need
ingredient notes and substitutions
- Red Snapper: You can usually find this in the seafood section of your supermarket. Sometimes it comes already cut into fillets, and sometimes it comes as a whole fish! But no worries, the great seafood counter folks will cut that fish into fillets for you.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: These are dried light bread crumbs that you can find in either the international aisle or with the regular breadcrumbs. If you prefer to use standard breadcrumbs that is just fine – just make sure they are dried.
- Capers: Capers are little round green balls that are actually buds from the caper bush. They taste like teeny tiny pickles and you can find them in the condiments section of your supermarket.
how to make this recipe
(Scroll down for the handy complete printable recipe with nutrition info!)
STEP 1: Start by finding your favorite large skillet, and sauté up some panko breadcrumbs in olive oil until they are golden. Scoop them out and set them aside.
STEP 2: Pour in a little more olive oil and sauté a handful of capers until they are slightly crispy. Whisk in some lemon juice and butter until everything is melted together, and then pour that lemony, butter sauce into a heat proof measuring cup.
STEP 3: Now for the snapper! Add a teeny bit more olive oil, turn the heat up to high, and then put the fillets skin side down in the skillet. Let them sear for about 5 minutes, and then carefully flip them over with your fish spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Pro Tip: A fish spatula is a long, super thin metal spatula that is perfect for flipping pancakes, taking baked cookies off the cookie sheet, and handling delicate things like red snapper fillets. I have three of them!
STEP 4: Slide those lovely seared snapper fillets on to warmed plates, drizzle with your sauce, sprinkle on the bread crumbs and some lemon zest and fresh parsley, and voila!
You have made a gourmet dinner in about 15 minutes.
If your snapper comes with skin (and most of them do), it is A-OK to eat the skin. It should be nice and crispy from its time in the skillet. But if it bothers you for any reason, you don’t have to!
This recipe will work fine with any nice mild white fish. Grouper and monkfish would be great…you can also use cod or tilapia.
Panko crumbs are light, crispy dried bread crumbs, and they tend to adhere better to things like fish and chicken than fresh bread crumbs do. They are next to the regular bread crumbs in your supermarket (and you can also use those regular dried bread crumbs if you can’t find panko crumbs).
Pop your question in the comments and I will answer it pronto!
want to round out your meal?
I love starting out this easy fancy seafood supper with a glass of wine and a nibble, such as these fig jam and cheese bites.
other fancy but easy seafood recipes we love
could you leave us some stars?
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear how it came out for you! I’d be super grateful if you could leave a star rating (you pick how many stars! 🌟 ) and your thoughts in the Comments section. Your thoughts and advice will help both us and your fellow readers. 🥰Print