Updated February 12th, 2019 – If you love to eat fish, but you don’t ever eat it at home because you feel like it’s too difficult to cook correctly, you are not alone in this world.
The truth is, I use to feel the same way about fish, especially when it came to my favorite dish of all – salmon.
The good news is that fish is one of the easiest foods to cook once you get it down properly. It takes very little time, yet if you cook it right, people will assume you took a lot of time preparing it for them.
The trick to cooking a beautiful fillet of salmon (or any other fish for that matter) is to get a nice sear on it. It gives the outside of the fish a beautiful crunch and crispiness while locking in the natural flavor of the fish and keeping it juicy on the inside.
The only thing you need to do is make sure you get a pan that offers you a great sear on the food you are cooking. Today we will look at three different types of pans that will all give you a great sear.
Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet
Carbon steel is great at conducting heat and will be useful in any recipe that calls for searing your food. This pan is made of 12 gauge carbon steel, giving you incredible heat retention and great heat distribution.
You can use it on many different surfaces such as gas, electric, induction stovetops, open flames or on the grill.
The best aspect of this pan is that it already comes pre-seasoned, so you don’t need to worry about doing that yourself. The 12-inch cooking surface gives you enough room to sear even the largest fillets of fish (if you need an even larger surface, they have a 15-inch pan as well).
Should you get this pan?
Personally, I do not like cooking with carbon steel. With that said, it is definitely an excellent surface for searing your foods, and it can go straight from the stovetop to the oven, which is great if you place your fish in the oven after searing.
Overall, if you don’t mind cooking with carbon steel, this is probably a skillet that you will enjoy using, and it can be purchased at a very fair price.
T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet
T-fal makes very good cookware, and this cast iron skillet is just another one off of their long list of reliable products.
The E83407 has an extra long handle to make it easier to grip when you are cooking (but the handle does get hot, so make sure you have pads for it). It comes pre-seasoned so that you can go straight from the store to the kitchen with it, instead of having to take the time to season before you start cooking.
Because the pan is made of cast iron, it can withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily be used on any cooking surface. Plus it will likely last you an entire lifetime if you maintain it properly.
It also has pouring spouts located on either side to help drain any unwanted fats or oils in the pan.
Should you get this pan?
Cast iron is known for giving you great sears on your food. Whenever you have a recipe that requires searing, cast iron cookware should be at the top of the list of acceptable materials. I love that this skillet has so much surface area on it, but it does have one huge downfall in my opinion.
While cast iron can be used on any surface you can think to cook on, if you have a ceramic or glass cooking top, I would not recommend using this cooking material. Because it is so dense and heavy, it will scratch your stove top.
All Clad 440465 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Pan with Lid
Several people have told me that cooking fish using stainless steel cookware is a bad idea, and on the surface, they are correct. Stainless steel generally does not have non-stick properties, but I have found that putting enough oil on it will keep my fish from sticking to the pan.
The reason I love using stainless steel pots and pans is that I have found that they distribute heat better and more easily than any other cooking surface. Not to mention, stainless steel is shiny and beautiful.
This pan is made of 18/10 stainless steel construction that conducts heat and diffuses it consistently throughout the pan. This means that the pan will have no hot spots giving you an even sear on the entire surface of the fish.
It has a deep design so that you can use it for more than just fish, and it comes with a lid.
And of course, it is made by All-Clad, so you can be sure that you are purchasing a top of the line product. But if you do ever have an issue with this pan, you can contact the manufacturer and claim your lifetime warranty.
Should you get this pan?
Some people do not like cooking fish on stainless steel, but this is a high-quality pan that your food will not stick to it as long as you season it first. However, because it is made of such high-quality stainless steel, this is a pan that you can expect to spend quite a bit of money on.
Wrap – Up
If you are looking to increase your culinary skills, then you will have to learn how to sear your foods. To do that it is recommended you get either carbon steel, cast iron, or stainless steel because these surfaces can withstand the most heat.
I would recommend the stainless steel all clad skillet, but if you are not comfortable with the price of stainless steel cookware, or simply don’t like using them, then the T-fal is a great alternative.
- ChefTalk Forums – Pan searing fish fillets
- SeriousEats – How To Make The Crispiest Pan Seared Fish Skin