As a former professional chef, the one thing I know most home cooks struggle with is how to cook the perfect fish fillet. Most are so terrified by the process that they eschew cooking it at home and stick to eating fish in restaurants. But honestly? It’s super simple.
Using a fresh piece of salmon, we’re showing you how to cook the perfect fish fillet. You’ll be blown away by just how simple the process is.
While we are using salmon for this recipe, the same technique works for most fish, from turbot to hake or cod. Cooking great fish at home isn’t something you should be scared of! This simple process will walk you through every single step…
- 1 Fish fillet (salmon)
The first thing you are looking for is freshness. Spend a little cash more on your fish, and if at all possible talk to a fishmonger. Smell it for freshness, and avoid anything that looks glazed or has any sort of slime on it.
Start by taking the fish out of the fridge 5 minutes before cooking. We know that not everybody is obsessed with the skin, but given the amount of health benefits it contains we highly recommend you leave it on and start eating it!
Heat a large non-stick pan up to a high heat and add some oil. The key is getting the pan to as close to smoking point at the start.
Don’t be scared of the heat. Nothing will guarantee ending up with a bad fish fillet than it hitting a cold pan.
When the pan is sizzling with heat, place the fish into the pan skin side down. Make sure to layer the fish away from you, so if the hot oil splashes it does so away from your body.
As the fish starts to crisp up, season it with some salt. The key at this stage is not moving the pan – leave the fish exactly where it is. Most people panic and start trying to flip it, or start messing around with a spatula. Leave it alone.
Keep an eye on the side of the fish and you will see it starting to go golden brown on the bottom. This is exactly what you want – both in terms of crispy skin and also knowing that this is the time to carefully flip the fish fillet.
This whole process should take about 90, seconds depending on the thickness of the fish.
When flipped, the skin should be golden brown. Cook for another 60-90 seconds on this side.
Finally, finish by adding butter into the pan to give the fish a wonderful glaze and a nutty taste.
Add a squeeze of lemon. Fish and lemon are obviously a match made in heaven.
Baste the liquid from the butter and the lemon sauce all over the fish. Spoon several scoops of this all over the fish a few times. This will add a lovely glaze and great flavour.
The final result should leave you with fish that’s as good as a fillet you would eat in any top-class restaurant.
Give it a go – it really isn’t hard to cook the perfect fish fillet.