Pan-fry fish – how to get crispy skin


How to pan-fry fish fillet and have crispy skin


Lay the fillet skin-side down on papertowels to dry the skin, you don’t want it to be wet when it hits the oil.  Sprinkle some salt over the flesh part.

Heat up a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the pan.  Have a fish slicer ready to hand.

Add the fish fillet skin side down and immediately start pressing down the fish with some force as it tries to curl up.

You need to press and hold it down for a few good seconds and eventually the fillet will give up curling.  The fillet skin needs to make complete contact with the pan in order to crisp up nicely.

The heat under the pan should be between low-to-medium (on a large-sized ring), if you cook too fast it will burn the skin rather than give a nice brown crust, but make sure you can still hear the fish sizzle away nicely.

Most of the cooking will be done with the skin-side down.

You’ll start to see the fish cooking on the sides and you should start to see the flesh around the edge of the fillet turn from opaque looking to a solid white colour.

Leave to cook like this until only the very central thick part of the fillet is still raw but the rest seem to be there or almost there.

Now turn it over and it will really take 30 seconds to cook the other side.

Ideally you don’t want to cook more than 3 fillets in a large pan like this because a crowded pan will create steam, not allowing skin to crisp up.


My roast fennel mayonnaise is delicious with pan-fried fish, recipe  here.