When you sauté fish you will be placing seasoned fish into a small amount of hot oil in a small pan. Fillets less than ¾ of an inch are best for this method. The thicker pieces tend to burn before the fish is done. You can sauté the fish plain or you can give it a light coating of seasoned flour. Either way it is a very simple method, although you must pay close attention to the heat. You want the oil hot before you add the fish. A drop of water will sizzle when you add it to the oil if the temperature is right. This allows the outside gets crisp, but do not have the heat hot enough to make the oil smoke.
What you need to saute fish
Small frying pan
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying. (Safflower oil, peanut oil or corn oil all work good). For more flavor, use a mixture of ½ oil and ½ butter.
How to sauté fish
1. Wash the fish under cold running water.
2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. The drier the better. This will give the fish a nicer
3. Pre heat the pan over moderate high heat.
4. Put enough oil or oil, butter mixture in the pan to cover the bottom, about 3
5. Season the skin side of the fish with salt and pepper. Do this just before you put it in the
pan. If you season too early the salt will draw juices out of the fish.
6. Place the fish gently in the pan, skin side down, and season the top. Leave the fish cook
without moving it for a few minutes. If it curls up just push it down flat with a spatula.
When the fish is browned nicely on the bottom it should lift from the pan without
sticking too much. When the fish is a little over half done flip it over and finish cooking.
7. When it is done remove the fish from the pan. Do not just take the pan from the
heat. The hot pan will over cook the fish.
8. If you want a flour coating dredge the fish in seasoned flour after rinsing and cook like
above. If you want a heavier coating try pan frying fish.