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Garlic Lemon Fish

Garlic Lemon Fish (Pescado Al Ajillo)

Garlic Lemon Fish / Pescado al Ajillo is another great dish born out of necessity. It is proof that with a great recipe you can make a quick adjustment or substitution and still come out with a delicious meal. 

Garlic Lemon Fish is a new spin on Camarones al Ajillo. We are subbing the shrimp for fish, but sticking with the “al ajillo” part which means “with garlic.” Sometimes you have a hard time finding shrimp, or just happen to have a nice piece of white fish on hand and want to make something quick and simple.

Garlic Lemon Fish has minimal prep. If possible it is even simpler than Camarones Al Ajillo. This dish is done in about the same time it takes to make rice, so about 15-20 minutes. Plus the added bonis of not having to worry about peeling and cleaning shrimp.

Our Tips for Garlic Lemon Fish or Pescado Al Ajillo

  • When turning your stove to medium high heat in Step 2, you are looking for the butter to be slightly sizzling hot. If your stove needs to go a little hotter for that, adjust it. The key to this is hot enough to melt and cook the garlic, but not too hot as to burn the garlic. No one wants burnt garlic.
  • In all honesty, this recipe can work with an array of seafood. Almost any fish, calamari, shrimp and clams. You can even make it a combo of your favorites.
  • If you do a combo of seafood, just keep in mind you need to add the seafood that takes the longest first so nothing overcooks. For example, you would add the fish first then the calamari and shrimp because those cook up very quickly. 
  • You want to serve this hot fresh from the stove with something that is going to absorb the delicious sauce. We recommend pairing it with White Rice, Malanga Mash, wilted greens or with crusty warm bread. 

Garlic Lemon Fish

Recipe by Abuela's CounterCourse: EntreeCuisine: Cuban, SpanishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 pounds of a firm White fish without skin, cut into 2-inch chunks (we like using group, mahi mahi or halibut)

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 12 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.

  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons of salt

  • Freshly cracked pepper 

  • ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, very finely chopped

  • Optional garnish – hot sauce and more herbs


  • The first thing you need to do is season the fish. Place your fish chunks in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Then turn a pan to medium high heat and add butter, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. You want the butter to slightly sizzle. The garlic should needs to cook for about 2-3 minutes, but you want to be attentive nt to let it brown.
  • When the garlic is ready, it’s time to add the fish. Make sure to add the fish in one even layer. Keep your heat at medium. 
  • Sear the fish on both sides for 5-6 minutes. If it gets too hot lower your heat to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. 
    You want to move it around as little as possible or the fish will break up and fall apart. Be sure your pan doesn’t get too hot. 
    Add the lemon juice. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
    Add the parsley and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed. 
    You can add hot sauce or different herbs for the final garnish.