Tuesday’s Tip of the Week, making sure your fish has nice, crispy skin

One of life’s pleasures is eating a nice fish fillet with beautiful crispy skin. Cooking a fish fillet well isn’t that difficult, it’s just a few simple steps and rules to follow and you’ll be guaranteed close to perfect results.

As with almost all cooking, it starts with the produce; to cook a good fish fillet with nice crispy skin you must make sure that the fish you use is fresh. Fish is a far more delicate protein than almost all other meats, and so the freshness is of great importance to the quality of the end product.

Once the fish is cut into fillets (I usually ask the fishmonger at my hypermarket of choice 🙂 to scale and fillet the fish) pat them dry with a paper towel. Moisture in the fillet, especially in the skin side, will lead to soggy skin. Another couple of steps I’ve admittedly never done but having read about crispy skin seem to always feature in any “how to” guide for fish fillets are: 1. run the back of your knife along the skin side of the fish to squeeze out the moisture, repeat a couple of times. 2. lay the fish, skin side down, on a bed of salt; salt dries out the moisture. Keep the fillets on the salt for about 15 minutes and then wipe the salt away using a paper towel.

Season the fish, and pour some olive oil in a pan on a medium to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the fish, skin side down into the pan and leave to cook for about 4 minutes. The heat can’t be too high otherwise the skin will burn, and too low will just lead to limp soggy skin with an oily fish. After checking that the skin had a nice golden brown color to it, flip the fillets over and leave to cook for about 1-2 minutes. The amount of cooking required varies and depends greatly on the thickness of the fillet, and the type of fish. An oily fish like salmon will need to cook for longer than a light white fish like hammour.

So basically, pic fresh good fish, make sure it’s dry, cook it on a medium heat for about 4 minutes and then flip over and cook for another minute or so. See, simple!

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