I used to HATE fish! Unless it was breaded, deep fried and served in a pool of ketchup, I wouldn't touch the stuff. It turns out I just didn't know how to cook it properly before. Now I can't get enough of it!
A couple of tips for cooking great fish:
- Buy good quality: it's impossible to make it taste good if it's poor quality. Choose fish that doesn't smell fishy. I always ask the fish guys at the market what fish is fresh, and then I ask them if I can smell it. Let's face it, good quality fish isn't cheap, you'd hate to get the fish home and realize it was a waste of money.
- Season the fish: First pat the fish dry with a paper towel to get the moisture out. Then salt it (coarse sea salt is best). I add pepper too, although that's optional.
- If you have skin-on fish (which I love!) scrape the skin with a sharp knife, drawing out all of the moisture from the skin. This will allow it to get really good and crispy.
- Get your pan really hot. And don't use non-stick. Get a good heavy pan out, something that will really sear that fish well. Add 2 glugs of olive oil, enough so that it covers the entire pan liberally. You should see smoke coming from the pan
- Next, dismantle your smoke detector, or at least open a window (those things are just way too sensitive for my cooking)
- Carefully lay the fish (skin side down, if you have skin-on fish) into the pan (facing it away from you so you don't get splattered with that wonderful oil).
- Let cook without touching it 3-4 minutes, until the skin gets nice and crispy if you have skin-on fish, or until you create a nice brown colored sear if you have skinless fish.
- Use a spatula to flip the fish. If the fish seems to stick a lot, it may not be ready to flip yet. Let it go another 30 seconds and try again.
- Allow the fish to cook 30 seconds-1 minute on the other side.
- Your fish should be done now, unless it's super thick in which case you can finish it off in the oven (350 degrees) for a few minutes.
- Squeeze a little lemon juice overtop, and you're done!