Learning to build a pan sauce is the highest yielding 25 minutes you'll ever spend in a kitchen. Pay attention to the flame at each step. Use high heat to sear properly and develop fond in the pan, reduced heat to add acid and build flavor, and then no heat at all — turn the burner off! — to whisk in the cold butter and build up your elegant, emulsified, (life-altering) pan sauce.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 1 ½pounds swordfish steak, cut into 3/4-inch slabs
- Salt and pepper
- ½cup Wondra flour
- 2tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 9tablespoons butter
- 1tablespoon finely minced shallot
- ⅙cup dry white wine
- 2tablespoons capers
- Juice of 1/2 lemon plus 2 lemon “cheeks” for garnish
- 1tablespoon minced parsley, plus a sprig for garnish
Step 1Season the swordfish gently but evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
Step 2Dredge the fish in the flour, patting off any excess.
Step 3In a cast-iron or nonstick skillet, heat grapeseed oil until just smoking over medium-high heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of the butter until melted and bubbling, about 30 seconds.
Step 4Place the swordfish in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes each side. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Step 5Transfer the swordfish to a warm plate, and remove any excess fat from the sauté pan.
Step 6While the pan is still hot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, sweat the shallots and cook until soft and cooked through, being careful not to brown. About 30 seconds.
Step 7Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and reduce by half.
Step 8Add the capers and lemon juice, and cook for 1 minute.
Step 9Take the pan off the heat, and add in the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan continuously to emulsify the butter.
Step 10Add in the minced parsley, and season to taste.
Step 11Spoon the sauce over the fish, and garnish with a lemon cheek and a parsley stem.