Pan-seared Tilapia with Chile Lime Butter

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
4-6 servings

Giving a quick, hot sear to a delicate fish like Tilapia creates a wonderfully crispy exterior.

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  • Chile-Lime Butter
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh Thai or serrano chile (preferably red), including seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fish
  • 6-8 (6-oz.) pieces skinless tilapia fillet
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour, for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided


  1. Chile Lime Butter Stir together butter, shallot, zest, lime juice, chile, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. (Roll in parchment and chill if making ahead).Cooks’ note: Chile lime butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
  2. Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper to taste on both sides of fish. Dust with flour on both sides.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot (not smoking), then sear 3 pieces of fish, turning over once with a spatula, until golden and just cooked through (about 4 to 5 minutes total). Transfer to a plate. Sauté remaining fish in remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in same manner.
  4. Serve each piece of fish with a dollop of Chile-Lime Butter.
  • Servings : 4-6