I have been trying to cook some new things, and I bought myself a good allclad skillet. I've tried pan searing fish a few times, using some hipster techniques I saw on YouTube.

I heat the pan pretty high, add in some peanut oil, and add the fish (already seasoned on both sides)

I leave it for a few minutes (med high heat) and then flip it. At that point, I added in a tab of butter, a crushed garlic clove, and some fresh herbs. As the butter melted I basted the fish.

The thing was, at that point the butter got really dark. Should I have lowered the heat, or done it more toward the end?

In this case since the fish filet was pretty thick I had the heat lower then when I cooked a bass filet, but had the same basic issue.



  • You've answered your own question...lower heat, butter and baste for the last minute.
    – moscafj
    Jan 28, 2017 at 13:19
  • Or use clarified butter; without the milk solids, which do burn at a much lower heat, it can withstand a much high heat, 400 degrees, before burning.
    – Giorgio
    Jan 28, 2017 at 15:56
  • "hipster techniques"? This is about as classic as you can get.
    – J K
    Jan 30, 2017 at 5:19
  • @JK I meant "hipster" for me, as in mimicking chefs on TV :)
    – badperson
    Feb 1, 2017 at 15:52

2 Answers 2

  • high heat saute: oil alone is best
  • medium to high heat saute: some people do a 50/50 mix of oil and butter
  • low heat saute: butter alone should suffice

Line cooks in a restaurant will often use 1 ladle of melted butter from the steam table, and one ladle of a vegetable oil. If they scoop the butter just right, they avoid the milk solids.


Use a very high heat oil such as peanut or avocado. These oils have a much higher working temperature than does butter. Think about it. Do you want seared Ahi or do you want smoking butter. By not using butter, and using a high heat oil, you get the food that you want - seared Ahi

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