How do you fry or sear delicate fish – like mackerel and snapper – without the fins sticking to the pan when you turn them? It doesn’t matter how much oil you use or how you season the pan, fillet still tends to stick. You could use a nonstick pan but then those aren’t great at searing either. Professional chefs advise that stainless steel pans are the best pan for frying fish but you have to use them correctly. You should warm up the pan for 10 minutes on medium heat before adding oil. Pour oil on the hot pan and let it sit for three minutes before placing the fish. Either way, you’ll need the right pan and that’s what we’ll be looking at today.
Calphalon Classic Non stick sauté pan – the best pan for frying fish
Looking at its sloping, dual nonstick layered sides, it’s no surprise that this sauté pan made it to the top of our list as sliding fish off the pain is easy and effortless. You may not appreciate the non stick layer for its great heat retention but you will certainly find cleaning up a breeze.
It’s hard anodized aluminum base distributes heat fast and evenly to the fish you’re cooking ensuring that its evenly cooked without sticking to the pan’s surface. This base is fairy resistant to corrosion too and won’t develop unsightly scratches when cooking. It comes with a glass lid too so you can see how well your fish is frying without letting the steam out.
Two handles are riveted to the pan’s body giving it a sturdy (and comfortable) grip. The primary handle is large and comfortable while it’s hook-like helper makes carrying the pan with both hands easy. Even though the handles are made of stainless steel – as its almost indestructible – they won’t get too hot to hold when you’re cooking. This 5-quart sauce pan is dishwasher safe so getting off fish grease will be a breeze. It’s rated oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit so you can make recipes that require you to finish off the fish in the oven without changing cookware. Its grey body won’t stand out in your kitchen. If it’s aesthetics you’re after, then you could use this (amazon) Rachel Ray pan to fry fish too.
Hard anodized aluminum is a great alternative to stainless steel as it’s lighter and a great heat conductor too. You can effortless lift an aluminum pan single handedly. The biggest downside of these pans is that they tend to be pricier but you’ll still be getting value for your bucks either way. This model features an inner layer of Titanium that makes it non stick and easy to wash. In fact the company claims that you can even use metallic utensils on this pan and they won’t scratch the non stick layer – something I wouldn’t try.
There’s a silicon layer covering the handle keeping it cool while you cook; a feature that the Calphalon Classic we’ve featured above lacks. Even though it’s scratch resistant base is fairly resistant to scratching, its only oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. High heat would certainly damage the pan’s silicon handle.
In this post on how you get crispy fish skin that won’t stick to the pan, the chef advocates that you should let the fish sit still on the pan without moving it. This pan is ideal for frying fish as it has a PFOA free non stick layer and you’re sure that toxic chemicals wont leech to the fish you’re making.
No fish is too large for this 12 inch pan either. The beautiful tempered glass lid it comes with will be a beautiful addition to your kitchen. When buying cookware, I choose for one that’s multipurpose. If this T fal pan wasn’t good at making other dishes apart from fish, it wouldn’t have made it to my list.
Stone earth frying pan from Ozeri
A great pan should outlive its usefulness and this is usually a challenge as the non stick coating they come with rarely makes it to the fourth year without peeling off. This is what makes this model unique. Instead of using Teflon or its alternative for the non stick coasting, this German based cookware manufacturer uses a stone-derived non stick layer. To be honest, it’s a surprise that a pan from a not so popular brand made it to the Amazon’s best seller list with over two thousand glowing reviews (at the time of writing this). On first touch, you will notice that this pan has a heavy anodized aluminum body that makes it heat up fast when you’re working with an induction cooktop. The magnetized base won’t scratch your glass cooktop either.
The best pan for frying fish should be easy to clean with or without a dishwasher. The handle on this pan has a silicon insulation over it and you can comfortably hold it without getting burns. This is the ideal pan for people that want something that “just works” and at a reasonable price tag.
How do you fry fish without it sticking to the pan?
Fish sticks to stainless steel cookware so many times that there’s a joke that they bond like cement irrespective of how much oil you use to lubricate the pan. The pan “releases” the fish once it’s developed an even crispy skin. Let the fish sit still without you sliding it on the pan and it will come off easily. Ensure that the oil is hot enough before placing your fish too. Drop a yellow mustard seed and if the oil is ready, it will crack immediately. You can use cumin seeds to test how hot the oil is too but they will turn brown before the oi has attained the right temperature. If you’re cheap, crank up the heat until you start seeing smoke. Either way it depends on the fish you’re working with too. Fattier varieties like Salmon don’t stick whereas Halibut and Cod flake apart and are prone to sticking.
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