Joy of Simple Fish

The easiest way to cook a firm fleshed fish is on the griddle. One could use halibut, mahimahi, catfish, salmon, swordfish, monkfish, grouper, yellowtail and a host of others. When I say a griddle, I mean a flat (not ridged) cast iron pan which is what we call a griddle. They are made in long rectangular shapes that fit over two burners, square, and round. The one I’ve used in the photo is a round one and the fish in the photo is halibut, but like I said you can use whatever you like. So what’s the secret that makes a griddled fish taste so good? Well, it’s the proper amount of heat that will create a crust but not burn the fish. When cooking fish, remember why you like sushi. It’s because raw fish can taste very good. So when cooking you want to keep the fish just on the border of raw, but not raw. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes per inch of fish measured at the thickest part. Like all rules of thumb, use with caution. For me, I’ve been cooking so long I can tell where a fish is at merely by looking, and with experience you’ll get to that point too.

The cast iron griddle must be preheated, so place it over the burner with a medium flame and let it heat for 10 minutes before cooking. Although you don’t have to, I like to dredge the fish in some flour and then tap off as much as I can so it’s only a light film that adheres to the fish. Rub some olive oil or vegetable oil on the griddle using a paper towel—you only want a film of oil—then place the fish down and—now here’s the key thing—don’t move it! Just let it cook for 3 minutes then turn once with a spatula and let it cook for another three minutes and your fish is ready to eat. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice if you like.

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