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Pan Seared Cod with Tarragon Cream Sauce is an elegant weekday recipe. Just 5 ingredients and one pan. Learn how to sear cod filets and make a creamy pan sauce!
This Pan Seared Cod recipe was the result of getting my hands on some BEAUTIFUL fresh fish, direct from Alaska. It's so rare that we get good quality fish in the stores here in the Midwest.
I had to resist the urge to do anything too complicated with this cod, because it was so fresh and so beautiful! A quick pan sear was the right thing to do. It's easy to pan sear cod, and once you get your searing technique perfected, you can use it with any protein!
How to Pan Sear Cod
- First, pat the fish dry with a paper towel. Remove as much moisture as possible to ensure you get a good sear in the pan.
- Lightly season with pepper and salt.
- Heat a very thin layer of avocado oil (or another cooking oil with high smoke point) in a non-stick skillet on medium-high.
- Test the pan's readiness by dropping a few droplets of water in. It should sizzle upon impact. If it doesn't, give it more time, or consider increasing the heat level a bit.
- Place the fish in the skillet skin side down. If skinless, choose either side.
- Sear for 4-5 minutes, and then flip. On the seared side, you should see some crispiness and golden skin forming. This is your goal!
- The second side will need less time, depending on thickness. Plan on 2-3 minutes before you begin to check
- Start to test the doneness of the fish by using a fork to see if the flesh flakes easy. Once it does, remove from the skillet.
Perfectly seared, fresh fish doesn't necessarily need any accompaniment. But, because I was born a little extra, I made a quick pan sauce styled after a French beurre blanc. White wine, cream and herbs are all you need!
In my cream sauce, I used tarragon. Tarragon is a unique herb with a flavor that's hard to decide. I think tarragon tastes a bit like fennel! Folks either love it or hate it!
If you don't like it, a good replacement for tarragon would be fresh basil or thyme.