Classic Pan Sauce for Fish

dinner plate of fish and vegetables
Pan-fried fish goes well with this sauce. Brian Macdonald DigitalVision/Getty Images
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 0 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
184 Calories
9g Fat
16g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 446mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 4g
Calcium 53mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a basic, classic sauce that every fish and seafood cook should have under his or her belt. It is a variation on a sauce veloute (Vel-oo-TAY), which is an enriched roux.

Sounding too French? Don't let that scare you off. This is a quick and easy—and delicious—sauce for simply prepared fish.


  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or oil)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • Salt

Steps to Make It

  1. When you have finished pan-frying or sauteing your fish or seafood, add 2 more tablespoons of whatever oil or butter you cooked the fish with, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

  2. Turn the heat to medium-low and sprinkle in the flour and mix well with a fork or wooden spoon. Let this cook and stir often until it turns light brown; you are making a roux (pronounced "roo" in case you were wondering). It is very important not to burn this!

  3. When the roux is light brown, add the wine. It will sputter. Mix well and scrape any browned bits off the bottom with the wooden spoon. This is important, so get them all.

  4. It may thicken up quite a bit immediately, so add the stock and mix well. Bring this to a boil over high heat.

  5. When the sauce has reduced by about half, taste a bit ​for salt and add more if you need to.

  6. The sauce is done when it can coat the back of a spoon, or when it takes a second or so to fill in after you drag the wooden spoon through the center of the pan. If you really want to get fancy, pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer before serving.

A word on the stock. Use appropriate stock for your dish, i.e., shrimp stock for shrimp, lobster stock for lobster, fish stock for fish. You can always sub in another stock if you need to, but adding the right stock makes your whole dish one step better.