Sesame-Crusted Fish with Soy, Butter, and Ginger Sauce

Makes 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes

This dish is a breeze, largely because of the sesame seed crust, which guarantees both flavor and crunch. And the sauce takes about 3 minutes to make.

Use any firm white fillets you like here, from sea bass to red snapper or grouper.

1 cup sesame seeds, more or less
Salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
4 (6-ounce) skinless fillets black sea bass, red snapper, or the like
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Preheat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat while you prepare the sesame seeds. Put them on a plate and season with salt and pepper; add the oil to the skillet. When the oil shimmers, begin to turn the fillets in the seeds, encouraging them to coat the fillets as fully as possible, and add the fillets to the skillet.

2. Brown the fish on 1 side for a couple of minutes, then turn and brown on the other side, another minute or two. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the fish to a plate (don't worry if it's done); put the plate of fish in the oven to keep warm.

3. When the skillet has cooled slightly, return it to the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and, when it melts, the ginger. About 30 seconds later, add the soy sauce and 1/4 cup water and stir to blend. Return the fillets to the skillet, along with any of their accumulated juices.

4. Turn the heat to medium and cook the fillets for a total of about 4 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times. (If at any time the pan seems to dry out entirely, add 2 or 3 tablespoons water.) At this point, the fish should be done (a thin-bladed knife inserted into its thickest point will meet little resistance). Serve with the pan juices spooned over the fish.