The other day a friend wanted a recipe for fish that has no coating but has crispy skin. The trick is to keep it dry and lather it in butter.
- A Fish. I used a Seer fish that weighed 500 grams before cleaning.
- Lots of finely chopped garlic.
- A chopped green chilly.
- A little olive oil.
Don’t allow the fish monger to cut your fish. In fact only have the gills removed. Bring it home. Use a sharp thin knife. Locate a hole on the underside of the fish. From there will the jaw line, slide the knife in and cut it open. You can also use a good pair of scissors to make this cut. Use this incision to gain access into the stomach and clean the fish. Avoid damaging the skin and the flesh.
Pat dry the fish. Use a kitchen towel if needed. Make slits on the side of the fish. Use a sharp knife. The direction of the slits must much on both the sides. Take soft butter. Rub it all over the fish. Put some into the slits as well.
Heat a grill pan. Carefully lay the fish on the sizzling pan. Leave it. Don’t even look at it.
Combine the garlic and chilly. Mix this into butter so they are sticky. Use a little olive oil if needed. Season this with salt.
Using a small spoon and spread out the garlic mixture on top of the fish. Try and put some into the stomach cavity as well.
After sometime the skin will leave the pan on its own. Do not under any circumstances force it. It must let go on its own. Any force will cause the skin to tear.
Flip over the fish. Now spread out the remaining garlic mixture on the top of the fish.
The reason for doing this in two steps is to avoid having only burnt garlic. The garlic now stuck between the fish and the pan will caramelize a lot. The garlic on top of the fish, not so much. Mixing the two will balance things out.
You may need to watch the fish and take a call on when its done. Its ok to flip it around once or twice.
Let the fish rest for a couple of minutes. Drizzle some freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon is not optional. The acidity will cut thru the garlic and elevate the flavor.
Some sliced tomatoes are optional but highly recommended.