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James Peterson's Baked Fish Fillets with Butter and Sherry


5-ingredient, 20-minute technique to make any white fish shine -- bonus: it makes its own buttery, boozy sauce, without deglazing or reducing. So go to your local fishmonger or sign up for a CSF. Don't blindly buy halibut or sea bass or whatever a recipe calls for -- ask your trusty fishperson what's in season, what came in fresh that day. Any firm-fleshed, non-oily white fish will work -- sole, cod, bass, rockfish, or any white fish that's not too delicate (so skip scrawny fillets like flounder). Adapted slightly from Fish & Shellfish (William Morrow, 1996)

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  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds scrod fillets (or any in season, firm-fleshed, non-oily white fish)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, herb butter, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley


Adapted from


Step 1

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Pull any pin bones out of the fish and sprinkle the fillets with salt and pepper.

2. Rub the bottom of a square casserole just large enough to hold the fillets in a single layer with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Arrange the fillets in an even layer on top.

3. Dot the tops of the fillets with butter or sprinkle them with olive oil. Sprinkle with the sherry and parsley. Bake for about 12 minutes per inch of thickness. Check for doneness by cutting into a fillet at the thickest part to see if it's opaque inside and pulls apart.

4. If you have only 1 or 2 fillets, cut them into a total of 4 servings and place on hot plates. Spoon the melted butter and juices in the bottom of the pan over the fillets. Serve immediately.

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