Pan-Fried Fish

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Includes a tip for not overcooking fish

We eat a fair amount of fish these days, and this is one of my favorite ways to prepare any sort of white fish. While you can use tuna and salmon, I think they’re much better cooked other ways.

This isn’t really a recipe, in the sense of giving specific ingredients and amounts, just “how I do it” along with a couple of tips that give me great results every time.

Pat fillets dry and place on a plate or cutting board.

Sprinkle corn flour (masa) over the fillets, then flip fillets over and wiggle them around so they are totally covered.

  • You can use white or wheat flour, but I like the slightly crunchy texture that the corn flour adds, not to mention the slightly different taste.
  • Corn flour is usually with the Mexican foods at the grocery — be sure not to get the tortilla mix! You can also use corn meal, but corn flour has a smoother texture.

Sprinkle fillets with salt, pepper and garlic (or your favorite combination) — I often use Montreal Steak Seasoning as a close and good substitute. Cajun Spice Mix is also good, as is Mrs. Dash.

Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a skillet over almost-high heat until it is sizzling but not smoking.

Place the fillets in the pan and cook 2 to 5 minutes depending on how thick they are.  Bottom should be nicely golden before you flip them.  Carefully turn with a broad spatula so the fillets don’t come apart.

Use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness after a further 2 to 5 minutes. Insert it into the center of the fillet; when done, it will read 135º F. (download my PDF of all instant-read temperatures). Using a thermometer to check for doneness is the biggest tip I have for cooking fish and having it turn out well. I was always afraid of having underdone fish that I would cook it until dry and awful.

NOTE: you can also cook the fillets on the grill — we use our barbecue sheet and have great results. Again, check for doneness with a thermometer.

Serve and enjoy!

P.S. There are complete directions — with photos — for filleting fish in The Boat Galley Cookbook, along with 16 other great ways to prepare fish.

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