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…


Crispy Fried Fish with Sriracha Tartar Sauce


Yes, that’s right, I used the “F” word.


But we’re in the waning days of Lent, there’s some good basketball on TV tonight and, well, Mama thinks just about anything that’s fried tastes good.

And you do, too (even if you don’t want to admit it)!Fish1



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