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How to cook crispy fish

a close up of food

I love salty crispy fish skin, but it’s so easy to mess this step up.  Here are foolproof tips for frying the perfect fish.  Trout is a good fish to experiment with as it’s affordable and a fairly thin fillet, so the skin is all important.

The key is pre-seasoning your pan: Get a stainless-steel skillet very, very hot over high heat (2 min), then pour in 1 Tbsp. sunflower oil and add a big pinch of salt. Once the oil is smoking, take the skillet off the heat and use a paper towel to carefully wipe oil and salt around and out of the pan.  You have just created a non-stick pan.  (If you have a really good, non-stick pan already then you can skip this step)

Dry it out! It’s super important to make sure the fish isn’t wet, which seems like an oxymoron, but it is essential. An hour before cooking, leave the fillets uncovered in the fridge to dry out, skin side up (no seasoning).  Season with a decent amount of salt just before frying.

Cooking your fish: Put a non-stick skillet over high heat, add 1 Tbsp. sunflower oil to your pan. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully lay the fish skin side down in the pan. Use a spatula to apply firm, even pressure to the fillet until it relaxes and lies flat.  Occasionally press down each fillet and cook until flesh is nearly cooked through, with just a small raw area on top.  Then flip the fish and cook the top (10 sec).  Et voila, perfect fish!

Serve with a wedge of lemon and some fresh diced rosemary on top.