How to Cook Fish in a Cast Iron Skillet

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Fish cooked in cast iron skillet has a long tradition in American cooking. Since a cast iron skillet can stand high heat temperatures, it is the preferred skillet for frying fish or cooking the many different recipes for blackened fish, such as Cajun black fish. A cast iron skillet can be used on the stove top, on a grill top or over a campfire to prepare the fish at the river's edge if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Cast iron skillet
  • Vegetable oil, Crisco or lard
  • Fish
  • Spatula or tongs

Frying Fish

Fill the skillet with 1 to 2 inches of oil, Crisco or lard.

Heat the skillet to frying temperature over medium high heat. The oil is ready when a drop of water in the oil sizzles.

Carefully lower the prepared fish into the hot oil.

Brown the fish completely, turning with tongs or a spatula if needed to brown both sides.

Blackening Fish

Coat the inside surfaces of the skillet with vegetable oil.

Place the skillet on the stove eye and heat the skillet until it is very hot over medium high heat. Test the heat by dropping a few drops of water on the surface, if they sizzle the pan is hot enough.

Lay the prepared fish in a single layer in the skillet and cook until seared on one side.

Use the spatula to turn the fish in the skillet and sear on the second side. This searing process gives the fish the "blackened" look called for in many recipes.

Serve the fish by removing it from the skillet and transferring to a plate or platter.

Tips & Warnings

  • It will help to run the exhaust fan over your stove if cooking fish indoors. Not only will this help to remove any smoke the high heat causes, it will also help remove fish odors. Fried fish should be cooked until it is golden brown on all sides. This assures that the fish is thoroughly cooked. Before seasoning any fish for cooking in hot oil or grease, the fish should be patted dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Water left on the fish can cause splatters in the hot oil, which can burn.
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