Pan-Seared Pickerel on Mixed Vegetable-and-Crab Panzanella

This dish of seared fish on a bed of corn, peppers, tomatoes and herbs mixed with lump crab and croutons is the epitome of summer. Slideshow: More Healthy Fish Recipes 

Pan-Seared Pickerel on Mixed Vegetable-and-Crab Panzanella
Photo: © John Cullen
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


  • 1 cup cubed ciabatta (1-inch pieces)

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 2 yellow bell peppers

  • Canola oil, for brushing

  • 1 small red onion, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick

  • 1 ear of corn, shucked

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 fennel bulb—halved, cored and thinly sliced

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over (1/2 cup)

  • Four 6-ounce skin-on pickerel, flounder or perch fillets

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves

  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the ciabatta cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the garlic and let stand for 10 minutes.

  2. Roast the red and yellow peppers directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let cool, about 15 minutes. Peel, stem and seed the peppers, then cut them into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Add to the vinegar in the bowl.

  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and oil the grate. Season the onion and corn with salt and pepper and grill over high heat, turning as necessary, until tender and nicely charred, about 6 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob. Add the corn, onion, croutons, fennel, tomatoes, crabmeat and 1/4 cup of the olive oil to the bowl and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add to the skillet skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat, gently pressing with a spatula, until the skin is browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook until the fish is white throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

  5. Toss three-quarters each of the parsley and mint leaves with the panzanella and mound on plates or a platter. Top with the fish, garnish with the remaining parsley and mint and serve immediately.

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