Do you want to improve your fish cooking skills? One idea is to take classes at one of those fancy culinary institutes. But those can be expensive, and you have to live near said cooking school. Another option is watching YouTube videos, but watching folks cook fish and actually doing it yourself are two totally different things. Let’s go with this simple solution: Learn to make fish sauces.

When it comes to enhancing the flavors of fish, adding the proper sauce can make all the difference. From the zesty flavors of chimichurri to the richness of romesco and a lighter and brighter take on beurre blanc, experiment with these five exceptional fish sauces to discover the perfect complement to the delicate flavors of your favorite fish.

Fish sauce #1: Romesco

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Originating from the Spanish coastal town of Tarragona in Catalonia, romesco sauce is a vibrant and nutty concoction that can add a Mediterranean flair to your fish. Whether you’re grilling, baking, or pan-searing your fish, romesco sauce, which features roasted red peppers, tomatoes, almonds, and garlic, is the perfect accompaniment to turn a simple dish into a masterpiece. Our recipe swaps the traditional addition of nuts for breadcrumbs. It pairs the sauce with grilled salmon but also works exceptionally well with codmusselsscallops, and lobster.

Plate of salmon with romesco fish sauce.

Fish sauce #2: Lemon Caper

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This bright and citrusy sauce is a lighter take on the traditional beurre blanc that combines the freshness of lemon with the tangy pop of capers. The recipe calls for roasting wild Alaskan sockeye salmon directly on asparagus to impart a deep vegetable flavor. But this sauce would also work well with poached, pan-fried, baked white fish, such as halibutcod, or sole, or shellfish like scallops and lobster. You can substitute other spring vegetables, such as artichokes or green beans, for the asparagus. Whatever you decide to pair it with, this sauce adds a refreshing element that cuts through the richness of the fish, leaving your palate refreshed.

Fish sauces with a plate of salmon with lemon caper sauce and asparagus.

Fish sauce #3: Saffron

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Treat yourself to this elegant sauce that boasts a complex flavor profile — earthy, slightly sweet, and with floral notes, all heightened by the addition of high-quality olive oil.

This velvety sauce is also dairy free, thanks to the addition of pureed chickpeas. Our recipe pairs it with salmon — the fish’s rosy color contrasts beautifully with saffron’s distinct golden hue — but it would also work well with any firm white fish or shellfish, particularly shrimp.

Fish sauces with saffron and chickpeas underneath filets of cooked fish.

Fish sauce #4: Chimichurri

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Add a vibrant burst of flavor to your favorite fish with chimichurri, a lively herb sauce from Argentina. Made with parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil, it’s reminiscent of a traditional Genovese pesto, reflecting the South American country’s mix of Spanish and Italian influences. Our version is mild; if you want it hotter, skip the step of seeding the jalapeños. This sauce is particularly delightful when paired with grilled fish, such as halibut or sablefish (black cod), but it would also work well with tuna, grilled shrimp, and seared scallops.

Top view of halibut fish with chimichurri sauce, green beans, lemon on a white plate on marble table

Fish sauce #5: Spicy HoneyBell

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Whip up a restaurant-quality meal in no time with the addition of this unique sauce with Asian influences. Hybrid tangerine-grapefruit HoneyBell oranges add incredible sweetness and juiciness to this bold and flavorful dish. Sushi grade tuna, quickly seared in sesame and peanut oil, is the natural pairing with this sauce, as it can stand up to bold citrus flavors, but it could work equally well with shrimp or salmon.

Tuna steak with honeybell fish sauce.

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