Extra Helpings: How to Sauté Fish


How to Sauté Fish

Learning how to sauté fish fillets is a fantastic way to get dinner on the table fast.

But honestly, many of us struggle with sautéing because:

• The fish sticks to the pan
• It won’t brown
• It winds up overcooked or not cooked enough

Here are a few quick tips that’ll put a gorgeous crisp-crust on your fillet. I’ve also included an incredibly easy recipe, to guarantee your sauté success:

How to Sauté Fish-Pat Dry Your Fish

Pat Dry Your Fish For a Crisp Crust

  1. Remove your fish fillets from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking. This will take the chill off, so you’re not putting a fridge-cold piece of fish in a hot pan.
  2. Pat-dry the fish. If the fish has too much moisture it’s going to steam and not get that lovely crisp sear that you want.
  3. Preheat your pan on medium high heat. I like using a cast-iron skillet, but non-stick skillets practically guarantee success. You’ll know the pan is hot enough if droplets of water dance on the surface.
  4. Lightly oil the pan. You are sautéing… not deep-frying. Add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. When it shimmers, you can add your fish.
  5. Place your fish in the pan skin-side up. If there’s no skin, place the “presentation” or the pretty side down first. That’s the side that you’ll want face-up on the plate. When you put it in the pan you should hear a nice sizzle. If you’re sautéing more than one fillet, increase the heat. The pan will cool down as you add more fillets. Remember don’t crowd the pan!
  6. Leave it alone! When it’s crispy brown, it will release easily from the pan with very little sticking. The length of time you cook it before turning will depend on the thickness of your fish. After 2 to 3 minutes, gently try to lift it with the spatula… don’t muscle it!
  7. Flip it over. Again, how long you cook it depends on the thickness of the fish. But remember, it will continue to cook a bit even after you remove it from the pan. The fillet should be firm and opaque. It will become flaky while it rests.

That’s my method… have anything else to add? Here’s the recipe…


Gadget Tree: Rolling Dough Docker


Lee asks: I got this at a Secret Santa exchange, but have no idea what it is!

 Rolling Dough Docker

You were gifted, Lee, with a “rolling dough docker,” a very common baking tool that’s like a rolling pin…but, in this case, with spikes. The process of “docking” makes dozens of little holes in the dough you’re working with, which allows steam to escape while baking.

The rolling dough docker is used on flatbreads, pizza dough, pie crusts (when blind baking) and pastry dough to keep the dough from bubbling up unevenly. That way your dough is flaky, crisp and flat, which is important if you’re topping or filling the baked dough with something.

Your rolling docker, also called a pastry pricker, is made of stainless steel and plastic, so it’s probably dishwasher safe.

A rolling dough docker is a kitchen gadget that’s great to have if you bake a lot… but a fork usually can get the job done just as well!


I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com