From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.


  • a frying pan
  • a spatula
  • olive oil
  • two thin, boneless, skinless fillets of firm white fish (e.g., tilapia, sole, cod, rockfish, snapper)
  • salt and pepper
  • dry vermouth
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • a heaping spoonful of capers
  • one pat of butter


  1. Rub oil on both sides of the fillets, then season with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat the frying pan over medium heat for about four minutes. Once it’s almost smoking, add the fish.

  3. Cook without touching the fillets for about three minutes, or until the edges are turning white and the fillets are a little brown on the bottom. Flip and cook the other side for about two minutes. Remove the fish from the pan.

  4. Cover the bottom of the pan with a couple of glugs of vermouth. Add the lemon juice and capers. Mix with the spatula, lightly scraping up any bits that might have stuck to the pan.

  5. Turn off the heat, swirl in the butter, and season with salt and pepper.

  6. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve.

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