Use salmon, striped bass, sea bass, or similar fish for this recipe. If you are buying fillets with the skin on, make sure the skin has been scaled.
– Four 6- to 8-ounce fillets.
– 3 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, whole butter, or clarified butter.
Step 1:Season the fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. In a sauté pan, preferably nonstick, heat the oil over high heat until it just begins to smoke. (If you are using an aluminum or stainless-steel pan, the oil should be even hotter—it should be distinctly smoking; if using whole butter, sauté over medium heat.) Place the fillets in the pan. Put skin-on fillets skin side down and immediately press down on them with the back of a spatula, moving from fillet to fillet every few seconds, for a total of about 30 seconds.
Step 2:When the skin is crispy and brown and about half of the estimated cooking time has elapsed (plan on about 9 minutes total per inch of thickness), turn the fillets over. If the skin is brown and crispy long before it is time to turn the fillets, turn down the heat. If at any point the fillets seem to be sticking, rapidly move the pan back and forth on the burner—this often dislodges them—rather than trying to turn them with a spatula, which can tear the skin. Turn over the fillets and cook to an internal temperature of 130°F, or until the fillets just begin to feel firm to the touch.