CHEF SECRETS: How to Cook Crispy fish skins? (Just like at the restaurant…)

CHEF SECRETS: How to Cook Crispy fish skins? (Just like at the restaurant…)

Crispy fish skin cracklings !!! How do restaurant Chefs always get their  fish skin so nice and crispy ? Simple, Chefs dry the skin of the fish before cooking i.

A method suitable for most species with a soft edible skin (Must be descaled ):  Sea bass, Hake, Haddock, Pollock, trout, Salmon, etc…

So lets do a step by step and let you impress everyone ( and no more soggy skin mess at the bottom of the pan)



1/ Lay down your fillet flesh side down on a chopping board  and rub it front to back with a blunt knife toward the tail (physically extracting any moisture from the upper layer of the skin).

2/ Coat with a generous amount of fine table salt. (not as much on the thinner parts of the fillets)

3/ Put the salt to work for 10 minutes. You will notice the salt getting damp, this is the moisture coming out of the top layer of the fillet…

4/ Rinse thoroughly under the tap, to flush out every bit of salt.

5/ Pat dry with kitchen paper

6/ Dress to impress… Gently SCORE the fillets, by cutting thin little slash through the skin ( optional)





1/ Preheat your pan ( as hot as it can.. ) Fish sticking to a pan is usually about temperature, no matter the amount of oil or butter …

2/ Rub, grease and coat the pan with a little sunflower or olive oil in kitchen paper ( Right now your Pan is far too hot for butter…. )

3/ Lay your fillets Skin down on the pan. Do not overfill, too much fish will lower the pan temperature and everything will start sticking…

4/ For the first minute of cooking, toss & rock your pan, making sure nothing is sticking.  Some fish like John Dory might need to be held flat with a fish Slice at the start of the cooking.

5/ Reduce the amount of heat to 75%  after a couple of minutes. Carefully lift one of the fillets after 5 minutes to check the browning process on the underside.

6/ Happy with the color, reduce the heat to 50 % NOW is the time to add on all that butter, garlic, etc .. ..) Flip the fillet around and finish off the cooking for an extra few minutes . To add extra crispiness,carefully  baste the skin with some of the pan hot fat.



How long ? When to flip the fillets to cook on the other side? It will depends on the thickness of the fillets, how cold your fish before cooking…. but by our own rule of “thumb”:

– under 1 inch (3cm) Cook it until the outer edge of the fillets appears cooked (one finger thick). Flip and finish cooking on the flesh side ( 8+ 2 minutes)

– Over:  1 inch ( 3 cm) and thicker . Brown and seal in the pan on all sides ( 10 minutes total  ) Finish off skin side up in a preheated oven  ( 200 deg ) add 5 minutes per inch


How do you know when it is cooked? Try the tooth pick test. Prick the thickest part of your fillet with a toothpick . If it goes through without any resistance, your fillet is cooked.


Note: THE PAN….  if you do not have a good pan … Buy one….  THICK & HEAVY  as nothing else will do.  A good investment, a quality pan is a pan for life and cost very little when compared to the value of the fish you will cook in it over the years...

We are Fishmongers. 100 % of our Wild fish is sourced straight off the boats. When fish lands, all hands on deck join in to sort, fillet, and pack all orders on time for our courier to pick up.
We are usually too busy to answer the phone, and fault of outsourcing this service in India :) ... We made the choice to simply cut off our neglected phone lines.

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