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Timber 2 Table - Parmesan-Crusted Hybrid Striped Bass with Lemon Butter Sauce

Top any pan-seared, grilled or baked fish with this easy, creamy lemon sauce

Parmesan-Crusted Hybrid Striped Bass with Lemon Butter Sauce



Summer around here sees fish on the menu on a regular basis. Sure, cornmeal-crusted and fried is our go-to method, but you can’t eat fried fish for every meal (even if you want to). A few other preparations are always in the mix.

Regardless of how we prepare the fish—pan-seared, baked, or grilled—this is one of my favorite sauces to spoon over the top. It doesn’t just work for fish. It’s perfect for grilled turkey, vegetables, you name it.

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This sauce is perfect for any type of fish as well as rice and grilled meats and vegetables.

Since the sauce demands nearly constant attention, I like to do it first, then set it aside while I cook the fish. Start with 1 cup of your favorite white wine in a medium saucepan over high heat. I tend to go with a sweeter wine for this one, since the concentrated flavors pair well with lemon. Bring it to a boil. Keep boiling it heavily until it reduces by at least half.

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Start by reducing the white wine.

Once it has reduced, add ½ cup of heavy cream. Bring that to a heavy rolling boil, stirring as needed to keep it from boiling over. Reduce this mixture by at least half. It will take 10-15 minutes. You will notice the bubbles get larger as the sauce reduces and thickens. Once the wine and cream are reduced by half or more, squeeze in the juice of two lemons.

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Add the cream and continue reducing.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir the liquid around to let it cool a bit, then slowly start to whisk in the butter, one pat at a time. Don’t stop whisking and don’t walk away, or the sauce will break. Only after each addition of butter has fully melted and incorporated into the sauce do you add the next pat. Keep doing this until all the butter has been added. The sauce should be thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set the sauce aside. The residual heat from the pan will keep it warm while you cook the fish.

Now, I know I said I wasn’t going to fry this fish, but I did. Instead of the usual cornmeal crust, the fish gets pan-seared in very shallow oil.

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Season the fillets with salt and pepper.

Season the fillets with a bit of salt and pepper, then dredge LIGHTLY in a 50-50 blend of Italian-style breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Don’t go overboard. You just want enough to give the fish a very light crust.

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Dredge the seasoned fillets in a mixture of breadcrumbs and parmesan.

While you dredge the fish, heat about an eighth of an inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Use just enough to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Once the oil is hot, gently add the fish, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Now, don’t touch it. Don’t shake the pan, and don’t try to lift the fish to make sure it doesn’t stick. Just leave it alone and let it develop a nice crust.

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Cook the fish until the crust is golden brown and the meat flakes easily.

Let the fish tell you when it is time to flip. It should completely release from the pan. This will probably take 2-4 minutes, depending on pan temperature. Gently flip the fish and repeat. Once the fish has cooked through and is flaky, move it to a warm platter and finish any fish that wouldn’t fit in the first batch.

Place the fish over a bed of rice, then spoon over the warm lemon butter sauce just before serving.


1 pound any white flaky fish fillets like hybrid striped bass

½ cup Italian-style breadcrumbs

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste



1 cup white wine

½ cup heavy cream

Juice of 2 lemons

1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

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