Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pan Seared Talapia with Chile-Lime Butter

For chile lime butter

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or serrano chile (preferably red), including seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

For fish

6 (5- to 6-oz) pieces skinless tilapia fillet or farm-raised striped bass fillets with skin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Make chile lime butter:
Stir together butter, shallot, zest, lime juice, chile, and salt in a bowl. Prepare fish: If using striped bass, score skin in 3 or 4 places with a thin sharp knife to prevent fish from curling (do not cut through flesh). Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until just smoking, then sauté 3 pieces of fish, turning over once with a spatula, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes, and transfer to a plate. Sauté remaining fish in remaining tablespoon oil in same manner. Serve each piece of fish with a dollop of chile lime butter.

Cooks' note:
Chile lime butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using. Makes 6 servings. Gourmet July 2003

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