HOW TO Enjoy home made Brown & Crispy fish skins like at the restaurant…

HOW TO Enjoy home made Brown & Crispy fish skins like at the restaurant…

Crispy fish cracklings, But how do restaurant Chefs always get the fish skin so nice and crispy ?  Just a little practice and method, Chefs  always dry the skin of their fish before cooking it.

A practice suitable for most species with a soft edible skin (which 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 skin mess at the bottom of the pan)



1/ Lay down your fillets flesh side down on a chopping board  and rub it Front to back f a knife toward the tail, to physically extract whatever moisture on the fillet.

2/ Coat with a VERY  generous amount of fine table salt all over the fillets ( 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 drop the temperature of the pan, and everything 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 % , and 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 befoer 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...

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