How to cook fish to get that perfect crispy skin

One of the most popular fish-related questions we get asked here at The Stone Grill is how we manage to get the skin crispy every time. Quite a few guests this year have commented that they can never manage the combination of soft fish and crispy skin. With that in mind, we asked our chef to share his technique with you, dear reader.

Perfectly cooked fish with crispy skin

When I cook fish at home it either ends up sticking to the pan, falling apart or the skin tears. I have never been able to get it consistently right, until now. This technique is simple and very effective, the two things that make it work for me. If I can do it this way, anyone can!

Dry the fish – Before putting the fish anywhere near the pan, you need to dry it out. At least an hour before you plan to cook it, place it skin side up on a clean plate or surface and allow to dry. Do not season yet.

Heat the pan – Get a frying pan or skillet, add a little vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Get the pan smoking hot like you would a steak and carefully wipe away the oil with some kitchen towel. Return the pan to the heat.

Add the fish – Add a little vegetable oil into the pan, salt both sides of the fish and let the new oil get up to smoking point. Then, add the fish skin side down in the pan. Hold the fish down with a metal spatula until it relaxes and sits flat in the pan. Press down regularly to keep it flat.

Cook until clear – Fish is correctly cooked when the flesh is almost opaque. Once your fish gets to this point, flip it over. Remove the pan from the heat and let the residual heat cook the flesh. Give it a minute, remove the fish from the pan and serve.

It really is that simple!

By oiling and smoking the pan before cooking, you are adding an extra layer of non-stick to the pan. This prevents sticking and tearing. Cooking it flesh down only a minute off the heat prevents overcooking and the fish falling apart. It’s the perfect way to cook fish. I have tried this a couple of times now and it works.

Try cooking your next fish dinner this way and let us know how you get on. Alternatively, book a table at Blackpool’s Stone Grill and let us take care of everything for you.

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