A men's magazine was the last place I expected to find advice on cooking. Heck, I can't even remember whether it was GQ, Esquire, or even that soft-core rag, Maxim, where I came across the seemingly audacious headline "How to cook fish". As if it wasn't enough that these magazines dictated that our socks should match our slacks, not our shoes, now they're telling us how to cook?
Had I not been trapped in a dentist's office, I would've stopped reading and logged on to Chowhound, but I continued, gradually becoming intrigued at what the article had to say. The jist of of it was this:
The reason why fish ordered at fancy restaurants tastes so good is because they cook it on rocket hot pans with enough oil to allow the fish to form that golden brown crispy crust.
It then outlined the steps on how to properly cook a fish. Here, I will transcribe it from memory:
Step 1: Heat up your pan, until it's good and hot on high heat.
Step 2: Introduce enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pan to about 1/16 inch.
Step 3: Season the fish filet liberally on both sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Step 4: Wait until the oil is hot and gently place the fish onto it. Immediately jiggle the pan vigorously for a good 30 seconds. Keep the fish moving so it doesn't stick to the pan.
Step 5: Stop. Turn down the heat to medium. Leave the fish alone to cook and form that crust.
Step 6: Flip over when a good brown crust forms on the bottom side and the sides are opaque.
Step 7: When the other side has a nice crust, lift and serve.
A few months ago, coming back with the salmon I bought from Costco in Irvine, I finally swallowed my pride and prepared it this way. Suffice it to say, I haven't grilled or baked salmon since.
This method of preparation is fast, easy, and produces a fish filet that is most undoubtedly unhealthier, but damn, is it good! That GBD (Golden, Brown and Delicious) outer crust has a concentrated flavor and texture all its own, while the middle remains moist and pink.
I routinely serve this salmon sans sauce, just a wedge of lemon. I make simple sides of homemade mashed potatoes and oven roasted asparagus, to round out the flavors and make a meal.
Sound advice on cooking from a men's magazine...whodathunkit?!
Okay, so they were right about the socks too.