If you’ve got a nonstick skillet, a bit of flour, and some butter (and of course some fresh fluke!), you can have a delicious fresh fluke supper in less than 15 minutes. But if you want to spend just another 15 minutes zesting and juicing a lemon and chopping up some garlic and thyme, you’ve got something that really sings. Just be sure to have all your pan sauce ingredients prepped (and you’ll be keeping some of the butter chilled to whisk in at the end) before you start cooking as making the “sauce” moves quickly.

Susie Middleton

In developing this recipe, I used fresh fluke filets that I bought from the Vineyard Seafood Collaborative at the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market. The pieces were small (and easy to handle in the pan). If your filets are very large, feel free to cut them in half before cooking for easier handling.


Serves 2 to 3

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound fluke filets (4 pieces)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon small (non-pareil) capers
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus thyme sprigs for garnish if you like
  • 3 tablespoons butter (cut 2 tablespoons into small pieces and keep cold in the fridge)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Put the flour in a shallow dish and arrange the fish filets, salt, and pepper next to it. Put a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet on the stove. Arrange the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the capers, the garlic and the thyme next to the stove. Be sure you’ve diced 2 tablespoons of the butter and are keeping it cold in the fridge. Have your serving plates ready on the counter as well.

2. Put the olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet and heat over medium heat.

3. Season each fish filet with salt and pepper on both sides and dredge each one lightly in the flour to coat both sides, shaking off any extra.

4. When the butter has melted, arrange the filets in the skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook without disturbing until the bottoms are golden brown and the edges of the top side of the fish have turned opaque (about 3 ½ to 4 minutes). Adjust the heat down a bit if necessary.

5. Carefully flip the filets over with a fish spatula or other thin spatula and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes (check the bottoms for very light browning). Transfer the fish to serving plates.

6. Immediately turn the heat to medium-low, add the zest, the capers, and the garlic. Stir just to soften for 20 to 30 seconds. Add all of the lemon juice, stir, and remove the pan from the heat. Immediately add the cold butter pieces and swirl them around just until melted. Spoon and scrape (with a silicone spatula) the pan sauce evenly onto each fish filet. Serve right away.

Tip: A slotted fish spatula is a tool you won't regret purchasing if you like to pan-fry fish filets!
Susie Middleton