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Note: Any firm-fleshed fish (such as halibut, cod, snapper, salmon, or grouper) may be substituted for the bass. Just make sure that the filets are about 1 inch thick or adjust the cooking time accordingly.

2 tablespoons peanut oil

4 1-inch-thick, center-cut striped bass fillets (6 ounces each), skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Coarse sea salt

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it slides easily across the pan. Dry the fillets thoroughly with paper towels, season them with kosher salt and pepper on both sides, then add them, skin-side down, to the skillet. Reduce the heat (the oil should sizzle, not sputter) and cook the fillets until the skins crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and gently brown the other side, about 3 minutes more.
  2. Add the butter and thyme. Continue cooking the fillets, turning them over once or twice (so that they brown evenly) and basting with the lightly browning butter. Cook until the fish is opaque, about 4 minutes more. Serve at once, drizzled with the browned butter and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

Recipe courtesy "Think Like A Chef," written by Tom Colicchio, Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2007