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Dusting with flour...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was trying to cook Tilapia by sauteeing it in a little bit of oil in a pan and let it go for a couple of minutes per side...
These were simple and boneless fillets available at costco.

I did have a lot of problem with sticking and I don't know if it was because I used more or less oil...

Also, i don't know if I should dip the fish in all-purpose flour and dry dust it with flour on both side for not sticking

Also, if someone can share the *blackened* concept and the types of spices involved. I had a blackened tilapia at cheeseburgers in paradise and really would like to try them at home.
post #2 of 14
I am against dusting with flour. You moreso end up browning the flour, and not the meat, and browning the meat is the whole point of searing.

Flour probably will not help the sticking. Make sure your pan is hot, add the oil (enough to coat the pan is enough), and then let the oil get hot, then add the fish. If you don't heat a pretty aggresive sizzle, then your pan is not hot enough.

What typr of pan are you using? Is it clean...does it have residue in it? Residue can make things stick as well.

Hope I helped. Good luck.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
i m using a non-stick pan - also tried with stainless steel

all were clean
post #4 of 14

Dusting with Flour

Hi Liv,
I disagree with the previous reply. A light dusting with flour (and don't forget the salt and pepper/other seasonings!) creates a lovely crust on a piece of fish.
My recommendations: throw away your non-stick pans (the coating may be carcinogenic). Buy some heavy skillets that are 3-ply (bottom AND sides), the outer layers being stainless steel and the inner core being aluminum.
When cooking, always heat the pan first (something you should never do with non-stick). Then add the oil and allow it to heat for about 30 seconds.
Make sure whatever you're pan-frying or searing has been dried thoroughly before any seasonings or flour have been applied.
Once the food item has been placed in the hot oil, leave it alone. Do not attempt to turn. The food item will release itself without sticking when it's ready to be turned. Keep checking by gently prodding it, but do not rip it off the bottom.
Hope I've been of help (I run a cooking school for home cooks, and have published a "how-to" basics cooking book, so I have experience with this).:chef:
post #5 of 14
These are the spices that are used in a typical Blackening seasoning. I apologize for not providing exact amounts since this recipe is one of the few private blends I have remaining. Not that it's that much a secret or the "end all" of spice blends but it is of personal efforts. Anyhow if you pick up one of Paul Prudhome's books there are recipes and procedures for blackening foods. I can't remember specifically which one but I'm sure there is something in most. One thing I will tell you is don't heat the cast iron pan to the point you burn off it's season (well two) plus use real butter. There is no substitute for this type of cooking. (Okay three things) Lastly make sure you do it outside or your kitchen is well ventilated to the outside. :bounce:
paprika (base)
basil (half as much as base)
oregano (half as much as base)
thyme (1/3 of base)
marjoram (13 of base)
garlic powder (1/3 of base)
chili powder, dark (base)
onion powder (1/4 of base)
cumin (1/3 of base)
black pepper, fine (1/4 of base)
cayenne pepper (add to taste)
sea salt (1/4 of base or to taste)
post #6 of 14
It still doesn't change the fact that when you coat a protein in the flour you brown the flour and not the meat. At that point the result is more akin to pan frying than it is to pan searing. You can get a lovely, brown sear on a peice of fish using proper technique without the flour, so why do it?

Same thing goes for any meat browned in a pan...I've seen people do it with lamb shanks, short ribs, well, many types of braised meat, veal, chicken, etc. I just keep thinking why?

Anyways, just my opinion.

Everything else I agree on. Hot, hot pan, hot oil, lay in fish, and leave it alone. You want to cook it almost completely on the first side, get that nice crust, and then flip, cook the rest of the way, and you're done.

Good luck, let us know what happens.
post #7 of 14

I agree with the dusting of pan seared fish...

The "reason" (not going to quote the entire block of text) would be that IMHO it adds flavor. Of course that depends on what result you want to achieve. I've never noticed a difference in the sticking aspect, but it certainly holds true about the meat letting you know when it wants to get flipped.

Dusting fish isn't exactly like dusting a steak. Fish cooks a lot faster. I dredge shortribs and other types of meat if I intend to braise and get a gravy out of it.

I would use the recommended HOT pan, a lightly seasoned dusting (obviously not a thick breading or anything like that) and butter (nummy...:lips: ). Works great for trout as well...Makes the skin all kinds of good.

I do disagree about non-stick pans. There are a wide variety of much safer types than I grew up with. (Unless you are in California where EVERYthing causes cancer ;) ) Like for instance some of the very first non-stick types would kill your birds if they overheated. only suggestion is to persevere. When you get it right it will become obvious but it's kind of hard to describe in text.

post #8 of 14
I would also agree with Gail. I think it would be next to impossible to pan sear certain types of delicate fish without sticking and damage unless you dust it. Especially skinless fillets.
However you do not have to use plain flour. I prefer finely ground polenta . you can also add in fine ground dried spices and herbs. Ginger for example.
If you dry the fish well before dusting, the amount of flour required is minimal. Just shake off as much as possible before cooking.

I also agree that non stick pans are nothing compared to a well seasoned steel pan. But I have been harping on about that ever since coming here.
post #9 of 14

Non-stick pans

Further to April's comment that the newer non-stick pans are safe, I'd advise everyone to do a little googling on the issue. DuPont, originator and maker of most of the non-stick coatings used in today's market (Teflon, etc.), has been fined millions of dollars by the U.S. government for knowingly using a suspected carcinogen - "PFOA" - in its non-stick coatings. The corporation has also been ordered to develop a new, non-carcinogenic ingredient for its non-stick formulation.

As Pinot pointed out in the previous reply, traditional steel pans have been under-rated since non-stick entered the marketplace. Having thrown out all of my non-stick pans (including some All-Clad!) quite awhile ago, I can attest to the fact that when used properly, nothing sticks to traditional pans - not even eggs.

post #10 of 14

stickly fish skin

Hmmm... Seems like there are 2 schools of thought regarding moving pan fried/grilled items.

I read somewhere from a previous thread that says, to prevent initial sticking of the skin to the pan, the fish should be moved around in the beginning of the frying process.

Now, experts here say not to turn the fish till it is ready. I'm really confused. So who's right?
Cook not because we have to, but because we like to!!"
Cook not because we have to, but because we like to!!"
post #11 of 14
At my place of employment we sear many different kinds of fish, but I apply the same basic cooking technique for them all. The only one that has been giving me problems is lemon sole because it is very delicate.

1.) Use a big enough saute pan that the fish will fit completely at the bottom of, nonstick pans saute pans preferred.

2.) Heat saute pan with oil that has a high smoking point (we use grapeseed). The pan and oil should be very hot

3.) Season both sides of the fish.

4.) Drop the fish presentation side (Side without the skin) down and shake the pan a little until the fish moves freely around pan... this gives me a great crispy sear and the fish doesnt stick to the pan.

5.) Be patient with that presentation side searing, you want it to look really nice so flipping the fish prematurely will give you an incomplete sear. When the time is right flip the fish and finish it to desired doneness.
post #12 of 14

Presentation side of fish

4.) Drop the fish presentation side (Side without the skin) down and shake the pan a little until the fish moves freely around pan... this gives me a great crispy sear and the fish doesnt stick to the pan.

Ras, I'm sure you were talking about skinless fillets when you instructed the reader that the presentation side of fish is the side without the skin.

However, when a fillet is skin-on, the SKIN side of the fish fillet is the presentation side. One always presents skin-on fish as if it were being seen in its natural state; therefore, skin side first.
post #13 of 14
I wasn't trying to instruct the reader... just more refer to my procedure of pan-searing a piece of fish.

Where I work, my chef prefers that we serve the flesh side up (even for skinned fish) so that the guest can see the grill/sear marks on the fish, so that is how I do it.

I would agree though that presenting fish in a "natural state" would make for a nice presentation if that is the effect you are going for.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
thank you all for nice replies, I have been (interestingly) eating out for a few days due to school, work, family... responsibilities all coming to a boil at the same time.
but yes the *blackening* sounds very intersting and true, I had a couple of places where they actually burnt the meat (my first experiences) that led to a shut down for a while.
but this cheeseburgers in paradise place was good. you could taste tilapia (sorry not much there) and the spices too. so yes I am definitely going to try it out with the spice combination.

I did try some with own spice combo (no flour second time around :-( ) some garlic, some onion poweder, cumin, turmeric, chili powder and I think white pepper. the result was not too pretty but portions tasted really good.

however, I am waiting till I get a little free in 2 weeks or so for more experimentation with fish...
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