Rumor is that fish is hard to cook–– Not true! In The Pescetarian Plan there are lots of quick and easy recipes but also explanations of a variety of fish cooking techniques. A favorite of mine that works on every type of fish I can think of is pan-roasting. Pair your pan-roasted fish with a vegetable and grain of your choice for a quick and delicious meal.
- Pat fish dry with a paper towel and then, with fish that has skin, score the fish skin. Do this by making a row of X marks across the skin. This will ensure that the fish will not curl up and that the heat will distribute evenly throughout the fish in the pan. Using a sharp knife, take care to cut only the skin and leave the flesh of the fish intact. If the fillet does not have skin, there’s no need to score it.
- Next, coat the fish in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. The oil will help distribute the heat evenly and help prevent sticking to the pan.
- Heat a heavy bottom skillet to high heat. Add a 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon of oil—that should be just enough to thinly cover the bottom of a 10- to 12-inch skillet. You can use canola oil spray—it’s easy and withstands high temperatures. Let the oil get very hot—you can tell it’s ready when you see the first sign of smoke.
- Don’t let it smoke for more than a moment—immediately add the fish, gently shaking the pan as you do so.
- For fish with skin place fish skin side down. Once the skin is crispy and brown, about two to four minutes, use a flipping spatula (not made of rubber) to turn the fish over gently. Cook until the fish is just beginning to flake but the very center is still translucent, about two to four more minutes. Exact cooking times will depend on the thickness of your fish and the heat of your pan. If you like your fish more well- done, cook it a bit longer—but watch out! You run the risk of ending up with a dry fish.
- You can check for doneness by slipping a very thin, small knife in the flesh and lifting gently. Remember fish continues to cook even after you remove it from the pan. The trick is to remove it moments before it is cooked to your liking. Let trial and error be your guide. The reward of perfectly crisped skin and flaky moist flesh is well worth the trouble.