Balsamic-Glazed Fish Fillets 4.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes May 12, 2010

Here's a recipe that works equally well when made using a grill pan indoors or an outdoor grill. I've had fish that's balsamic-glazed or honey-glazed or mustard-glazed, but this recipe combines all three -- with garlic and lemon juice -- to great effect. No salt is needed.

The fish stays moist and easy to handle because it is cooked in 1-pound pieces instead of individual fillets. If you cook this on an outdoor grill, preheat to medium-high (400 degrees) and place the fillets over direct heat.

A slotted, flexible metal fish spatula with rounded edges is invaluable for handling large or small fillets. I recomend a LamsonSharp, which is pricier than other spatulas but long-lasting and worth the cost.

Any leftover fish would be great the next day, flaked over a green salad.

Serve with mashed skin-on fingerlings; the small potatoes take no more than 20 minutes to cook.

Servings: 4 - 5
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grainy dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Two 1-pound pieces skin-on salmon or halibut fillets, preferably center-cut and about 1 inch thick, pin bones removed


Mince the garlic to yield about 2 teaspoons. Squeeze the lemon half to yield 1 tablespoon of juice.

Combine the oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until the garlic has softened.

Add the mustard, honey, lemon juice, vinegar and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, to form a slightly thickened sauce. Transfer to a wide, shallow dish and cool for 5 minutes, then place the fillets skin side up in the dish; let them sit for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease a ridged grill pan. Heat over medium-high heat.

Place the fillets skin side down in the pan; use the sauce in the dish to evenly coat the top of the fish, making sure plenty of the garlic is there. Discard any remaining sauce.

Cook the fish without turning for about 10 minutes or until it is opaque and fairly firm to the touch. (Use the tip of a thin, sharp knife to make a slit in the center of the fish to check doneness, if necessary.) The skin will be quite crisp and dark.

Use a fish spatula to transfer to the fillets to a cutting board, divide them into equal portions and transfer to individual plates. Serve immediately.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from "All Fired Up! 250 Fresh and Flavorful Grilling Recipes," by Margaret Howard (Firefly, 2010).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at