For many of us, fish is the most challenging thing to cook. Unlike other dishes, fish is something that requires extra attention because of its extra-soft tender meat. There are different kinds of fish recipes that you can prepare. But unlike meat, you cannot prepare all the fish recipes with the same fish species. There are particular fishes that are perfect for specific recipes. Because there are saltwater fishes and freshwater fishes, there is a drastic difference in how they taste. So, it is extremely important that you choose your fish wisely when preparing a fish-based recipe.
With that said, in this post, we are going to discuss the recipe for crispy-skinned fish fillets. It is a popular Mediterranean dish, which is easy to prepare. However, as we discussed above, only a few specific fish species fit perfectly for this type of recipe.
This is a special and unique recipe because you cook the fish fillets without removing the skin. Usually, we remove the skin of the fish because not all fish taste good with their skin on.
Overall, this is the easiest fish recipe you can prepare at home, and the best part is that you don’t need a whole lot of ingredients.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Choosing the right fish for the recipe
For this recipe, you will need crispy-skinned fish. The following are the best fits for this recipe:
- Branzino (highly recommended)
- Red Snapper
- Black Bass
These are the preferred fishes for crispy-skinned fish fillets recipe. You can buy them from your local fish market.
- Skin-on fish fillets – 2 (6 ounces each)
- Vegetable oil – 2 tablespoons
- Kosher salt – ½ teaspoon
- Mixed Olive Vinaigrette – ¾ cup
- Lemon slices – 2 or 3 (optional)
- Prepare the fish fillets by cutting the edges and removing any bones. Clean it thoroughly under running water and place them in a bowl filled with ice. Ensure that the skin side is up. Put it aside for at least an hour. Or you can place the bowl in the refrigerator and leave it for an hour. This will help in drying out the skin. This is the most important step in the preparation of crispy-skinned fish fillets.
- Next, pat the fillets dry and season them with kosher salt. Make sure you properly cover the fillets with salt. Let it sit for another 15-20 minutes.
- Now it is time to prepare your cast iron skillet. Take your skillet and place it over high heat. Make sure that the skillet is extremely hot. To the hot skillet, add one tablespoon vegetable oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Once the oil starts smoking, turn off the heat and remove the skillet from the stove. Use a bunch of paper towels to wipe clean the oil residue and salt from the skillet. You need to be cautious when doing this because iron skillets can get extremely hot. We recommend that you use tongs for holding the paper towels rather than holding them with your bare hands.
- Once your iron skillet is seasoned, it is time to start the real action. Turn on the heat and put the iron skillet back on the stove. Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil and sprinkle some kosher salt. Ensure that the oil and salt are perfectly coated on all the sides of the skillet. Wait for the oil to shimmer before carefully laying your seasoned fish fillets in the pan. Make sure that the skin side is down and lay them in a way that the fillets seem like they are going away from you. It will help you guard against spatters.
- Take a broad spatula and use it to apply gentle and even pressure on the fish fillets until they lie flat and relaxed inside the skillet. You have to periodically press down each fish fillet and cook until they are nearly opaque, cooked through, and the edges are golden.
- With one side done, flip the fillets using the spatula and cook the non-skin side. Cook this side undisturbed until it turns golden brown. Then do some more flips per 1-2 minutes before turning off the heat and removing the skillet from the stove.
- Take a plate and spoon a bit of Mixed Olive Vinaigrette all over it before placing the fish fillets on top of it. Make sure that you keep the skin side up. Garnish the top with fresh lemon slices and serve it hot!
If you cook wet fish, it is going to be a huge blunder because it is going to rip, stick, and steam. You would not want that!
Preparing the Sauce – Mixed Olive Vinaigrette
You will need –
- Red wine vinegar – 2 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Fresh basil (chopped) – 2 tablespoons
- Crushed and pitted Kalamata olives – ¼ cup
- Crushed and pitted green olives – ¼ cup
- Finely chopped shallot – 1 small
- Ground black pepper – ½ teaspoon
- Kosher salt – ½ teaspoon
Thoroughly combine the given ingredients in a small bowl until it becomes a single mixture.
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