Friday, May 29, 2009

Putting the Sizzle in Your Seafood

Sauteing, or light frying, is a method of cooking seafood that I find enjoyable, exciting and satisfying. It involves putting the seafood into a pan of hot oil that produces an instantaneous sizzle and gives the seafood a beautiful golden brown color, and a light crisp exterior, to contrast with the white, tender and moist interior.

You will want to start with a good quality oil such as canola, grapeseed, or olive oil, or a good unsalted butter. My personal preference is extra virgin olive oil with a couple of pads of good butter, it gives a great flavor and keeps the butter from burning. Heat the oil to just below the smoking point for best results.

Prepare your seafood by coating it with seasoned flour (just add a little salt and pepper, or your favorite dry seasoning), finely chopped nuts, bread crumbs (panko works great), cornmeal or crushed crackers. I like dipping the fish in an egg wash (slightly beaten egg whites with tsp of water or milk) before coating the fish, it helps keep the coating on and adds the crisp texture.

Add the seafood to the pan being careful not to overcrowd the pieces, leave room for the oil to dance around the fish. Cook until golden brown on the bottom then turn and cook until browned on the other side. Follow the general ten minutes per inch rule, five minutes per side if an inch thick, and you should have a perfect result.

Try this method for your seafood next time and I think you will find it as fun, exciting and satisfying as I do.


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  2. JanaBanana, this could be caused by one of two things, (or both), your temp is not high enough, (just below smoke point of oil), or you are over crowding and the fish is basically steaming instead of frying. Try heating your oil till you start to see tiny wisps of smoke, add your fish so that there is and inch or more between pieces, see if that doesn't help. If you need to, place cooked pieces in a 200 degree oven to keep warm until you finish batch.