Recipe: Fish of the Day with Brown Butter Sauce & Popped Capers 

This is a great way to cook lower-priced fish species such as blue moki, gurnard, hoki, monkfish and trevally.

Words: Ruth Pretty  Photos and styling: Carolyn Robertson

Serves: 6


1 teaspoon flaky salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg fresh firm fish, skin off, cut into 6 portions
Brown Butter Sauce (recipe follows)
Popped Capers (recipe follows)
¾ cup watercress sprigs, or small rocket leaves
6 lemon wedges


Set a flat grill plate or two heavy frying pans over a medium-hot heat and allow 3–4 minutes to heat up.

Just before you’re ready to cook the fish, place it in a bowl with the salt and oil. Toss until coated. Place fish on the hot pans and cook on one side until lightly brown, when it will be possible to turn the fish without it sticking to the pan.

Turn the fish over and cook on the second side until lightly browned. If the portions are very thick, once browned on both sides, use tongs to turn the fish on its edges and cook these until browned. Ensure it is cooked by piercing one portion with a metal skewer.

Divide the cooked fish between six warmed plates. Drizzle each portion with Brown Butter Sauce and scatter with Popped Capers and watercress. Don’t forget to add the lemon.

Brown Butter Sauce

Melt 120g cold unsalted butter in a small pot set over a low heat. When bubbles start to appear around the edges, take the pot from the heat and swirl, then return to the heat. Continue this process until the butter is mustard-brown.

More stories you might like:
Recipe: Easy tamarind glazed ham

Remove from heat. Line a small sieve with a paper towel and set it over a small bowl. Pour the butter through the sieve (the paper towel will catch the sediment). If necessary, re-warm the Brown Butter Sauce for 10–20 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Popped Capers

Rinse 4 tablespoons capers in a small sieve, then dry on paper towels. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a small pot set over medium heat until hot. Drop one caper into the oil — if the oil is hot enough, it should rise to the top.

Add the remaining capers and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until they pop and are crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined tray. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the fridge for several days.


Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Barbecued Fish with Watermelon & Black Olive Salad

Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Braised Lamb Shoulder with Beetroot Sauce

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
Discuss This Article
Send this to a friend