There is something spectacular about picking up your fork to dive into that perfectly cooked piece of fish and discovering it also has an amazing crispy skin. I am often asked how to master this seemingly advanced culinary task – I have to be honest, it is not as difficult it looks! Here is my guide for a truly crispy fish skin.
The first tip to achieving crispy fish skin is to start with a dry piece of fish. I pat my fish dry, put it on a plate skin side up, and then place it in the refrigerator for about 30 mins. This step will help dry out any excess moisture. Once you are ready to cook the fish, heat your pan over medium high heat with enough oil just to cover the bottom. Season the fish right before you put it in the pan. This is crucial because salt draws out moisture from food which will inevitably make your nicely dry skin wet again – making it impossible to crisp.
The next important rule to crisping your fish skin is to make sure the entire surface of skin is in contact with the pan. Fish will have the tendency to curl up once you put it in the pan. Use a large spatula and press it down, making sure that you hold it there for a few seconds and it is completely flat.
Next simply season the flesh side of your fish and let it cook. The fish will slightly lift from the pan when it is ready to be turned. As a rule of thumb, if you are unsure when to flip it just cook until the edges are no longer translucent. Depending on the thickness of the fish, it will only need a couple of minutes on the other side. Remove it from the pan and you are ready to enjoy – Don’t pour any sauce over it, or you will have ruined your hard work!