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Crispy Skin on Fish

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I like to baste fish in a pan and am looking for help on techniques for getting that perfect crispy skin.  Thanks for your feedback!

post #2 of 8

Dust the fillet with rice flour. Season with salt and pepper. Place skin side down in oiled hot pan. Baste top side while browning skin. When browned flip fillet over and place pan with fish in 400 degree oven.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #3 of 8

Make sure the skin is dry, ultra-dry, even drier, and then just a little bit drier than that. Once your skin is really, really dry, pat it with a paper towel to dry it yet a bit more and then score it. That will help the skin crisp up nicely. Hold the fish down when you put it in the pan so a maximum of skin stays in contact with the bottom of the pan. 

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Is it ok to add a little butter to the oiled pan?

post #5 of 8

With the kind of temperature you want your pan to be at when you place the fish in, you'd be burning your butter. So no, I don't recommend using butter for that application. Make sure the pan is super hot and the oil smoking at the time when you add the fish. 

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Makes sense. Thanks.
post #7 of 8

You're welcome. This should help too:

post #8 of 8

Preheat the pan, then add oil and preheat the oil until very hot. 


You can add butter to the pan after the skin side is nearly cooked.  The oil will help keep the butter from smoking.  Along with butter, I add a clove of raw garlic and a sprig of fresh thyme, then "speed baste" the butter over the fish.   When the skin is crisp, all but the thickest portions are about 90% cooked.  Turn and let the skinless side cook just long enough to color -- usually less than a minute. 


Then I plate the fish, dump everything else from the pan and make a sauce by deglazing with white wine and lemon juice, and mounting some butter and herbs into that after it's well reduced. 


Using a little starch or flour can be helpful in one sense, but it's a different thing.  I usually don't use any sort of starch for fish with skin which crisps easily -- salmon for instance -- but do for fish which are more of a challenge in that respect, like sand dabs.



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