Friday, June 01, 2007

Fish to Fry

Someone said to me he could not fry fish the way he gets in the restaurant. He likes it almost crisp on the outside and very moist in the middle. It is very hard to make both sides crisp unless you have a very thick piece of fish. But whether you pan roast it (brown it and then pop it into the oven), fry it, grill it or broil it, the theory is the same.

Broiling is hardly worth doing unless you have a super-hot (1,800°F. or more) broiler. Otherwise you just up poaching it. The fish ideally should be about 1 ½ inches thick for best results; 1 inch will work but watch out you don’t overcook it. Pat the fish very dry with towels, and lightly salt and pepper it all over. To fry the fish, the best alternative to grilling, is to put a heavy frying pan on medium heat, add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let it get hot, about 1 minute. Carefully put in the fish, and then LEAVE IT ALONE! Do not try to move it around. People love to do that; put it in, and immediately start the hockey game pushing it here and there,

In about 2 minutes you should see from the side that it has cooked about 20% of the way from the bottom. When it is almost 33% cooked (you can easily see where it is cooked and where it is still raw), carefully flip it over with a spatula. The bottom should be beautifully dark, and not have stuck at all. Cook up to another 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan onto a towel-draped warm place to drain excess oil. Let it stand about 3 minutes, then serve it on a very warm plate garnished any way that pleases you.

Serve hot. Give yourself a treat; do not put any lemon juice on the fish and see how you like it. Lemon is put on everything it seems, and sometimes the flavor of the fish disappears under a swamp of acidic juice.

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