Cooking fish can be daunting. The flesh is delicate and easily overcooked. Not only that, any sort of sticking will destroy the skin. Using the right fish fry pan can make all the difference. They let you cook fish without destroying it and your dinner. The Best Fish Frying Pan uses a oval shape with a nonstick coating. Since most of these pans dont have a lid, alternative methods of cooking needs to be employed.
What is a Fish Frying Pan?
A fish frying pan is a pan designed to fry fish. While you can technically fry fish in a round pan, the oval ones are better suited for its shape. There are even some pans designed to cook turbot, a coffin looking fish.
Traditional Fish Fry Pan uses a copper and tin lining. Those are more common in France, but scarcely seen in the states. Modern variation of this pan will use either a stainless steel finish or a nonstick model. You can even find it in a cast iron configuration.
Some of these fish pan will have a grill mark. They give the fish a grilled look after your done. However, the fish needs to be finished in a oven for it to cook through.
How to Use a Fish Fry Pan
Using a Fish Fry pan is the same as any other pan. Perhaps whats most important is the prep work. There are a few ways that you can prepare a fish for frying. I personally coat the fish in flour to reduce sticking. This also gives the skin a nice crispy crust. Frying the fish without flour significantly increase the chance of it sticking.
With a Nonstick and Cast Iron Fish Fry Pan , preheat the pan with oil. Once you see the oil start to shimmer, put in the fish. If you have a lid, cover it so that the top portion will get cooked. If not, then fry one side until you get a nice crust. Flip and fry the other side. Once you have a crust, pop the pan in a preheated oven and bake till done.
Stainless Steel is a little more difficult. You need to preheat the pan until its very hot. Dropping a drop of water is a good way to test this. It should be in a single droplet and it should dance around the pan. Add oil and fry like normal. Do not use a lid in a Stainless Steel Fish Frying pan, leave it uncovered. Once both side are fried, stick it in the oven.
Best Fish Frying Pan List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Fish Fry Pan. They come in many different configuration, choose one that best suits you.
STAUB Cast Iron Oval Baking Dish (Best Overall)
Staub is the best choice for frying fish. The cast iron construction means that it can hold heat and sear the skin with a perfect crust. After both side is browned, you can stick it in the oven to finish cooking. While the nonstick performance is not as good as teflon, as long as you flour it properly and use best practice, it wont stick. The only downside is that the sides are taller than usual. Using a spatula to lift it can be difficult. I recommend flipping with a tongs after searing.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Extra Large Double Burner Grill (Best Cast Iron Fish Pan)
Le Creuset grill pan are perfect for frying fish and other stuff. While the model with a handle might seem like a good idea, it sticks out and is awkward in the oven. This skinny grill pan is compact and has low sides. This makes flipping the fish a lot easier. Sticking is also less of a issue since there less contact point, but you do need to finish cooking in the oven. This pan is also good for other food as well.
Mauviel 0 M’Heritage M’150B Copper Oval Pan (Best Copper Model)
Copper is one of the best conductor of heat. It excellent at searing and heats up fast. This gratin pan can be used both as a fish frying pan and a baking dish. Just be aware, that the handle gets hot and a glove should be used.
One thing to note is that the stainless steel lining sticks. Preheat it so that sticking is minimal.
Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan (Best Nonstick Fish Pan)
The nonstick oval pan is the easiest to use. All you need to do is use oil and plop it in. Cover and the steam should help cook it through. Once one side is done, flip and sear. I would lower the heat to make sure it cook through. Remove the lid though, the steam will sog up the skin.
The issue with this pan is that the sidewall is tall. In order to cook properly, use a pair of tongs to help you flip.
Circulon Elementum Hard Anodized Nonstick Oval Griddle (Best Nonstick Griddle)
If the cast iron one simply stick too much. Then consider one with a nonstick coating. It makes life easier and it works just as well for fish. As long as you pop it in the oven, it should be just fine. However, the grill mark isnt as prominent as the cast iron one. Its simply too short. Cleaning is easier though.
To tell you the truth, there are very few good option for fish pans. The nonstick oval pans are almost non existent. Thast because its costly to make a oval pan. Cast Iron are more common and a good choice. Since they are casted, there arent more cost. Staub and Le Creuset are a good choice. However, they are pricey. The copper one is another costly choice but it performs well. The easiest and most affordable option are the nonstick variety. I would say the Rachel Ray model is easiest to use. Its just that the sidewall are tall and it makes it difficult to flip. Circulon is a good alternative, its just that it has grill mark.
Looking for more oval stuff, check out our article on the Best Oval Cast Iron Dutch Oven.