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Fish Fillets; Frying - Recipe

This simple technique works with fish of all types (discounting squid and octopus, that don't look like fish).
Unlike meat, which should never be salted before cooking, fish really benefits from this. So sprinkle on a little just before frying (earlier will draw out moisture and flavour).

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at - top-class dishes from beginners upwards


Have your fillets, whether plaice, brill, cod or sole cut to size and skinned ready in the fridge; and have your sauce or lemon wedges at the ready at room temperature (don't cut the lemon too early, or it will form an unattractive dry skin; also, don't give your guests silly little slices that are impossible to squeeze - except over your clothes).


- When ready to eat, melt a little good unsalted butter over a low to medium heat, in a wide pan.

- When it starts to sizzle, add your fillets. Note their shiny opaque texture and firmness with piece of cod or brill after about 3 minutes. After this time the colour will have changed to brilliant white (or pale pink for salmon) and the fish will have a spring to the touch.

- When cooked a sharp knife will meet no resistance.

Under-cook if unsure, your fish (like an egg) will continue to cook a little, even when removed from the heat.

If serving simply with lemon, deglaze with a squeeze of lemon juice and an extra knob of butter to loosen all the goodies attached to the bottom of the pan and use this as a delicious sauce. Chips (q.v.), if good, are an excellent if unfashionable accompaniment; or serve with 'Tomato Sauce, Caramelised' (q.v) or one of the variations of 'Fish Sauce Base' (q.v).

Recipe taken from 'Foolproof Entertaining' by Simon Scrutton

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