Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

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Pan-Searing Fish: I Ain’t Scared

I love fish. I love pan seared fish in particular. I’ve been afraid to try pan searing because this is the sort of thing that Ina Garten would describe as looking complicated. The pan has to be the right temperature. You have to shake the pan and ensure the fish slides across the heated surface to ensure no sticking. To use breading or not to use breading?

I few months back I bought a gorgeous set of stainless steel pans. That was the first step to success in pan-searing. This won’t work as well with Teflon or otherwise coated pans.

I snagged a couple of wild-caught Atlantic tuna steaks on a whim. I chose tuna because it’s a little denser than my other options. I thought that would hold-up to my novice pan searing attempts better than the other filets present.

I dug up this recipe. I followed it to the letter. I was even careful to see that the olive oil was smoking a bit in the pan to ensure that it was hot enough.

It turned out beautifully. The fish didn’t stick, although shaking it free of the pan immediately after placing the steaks in was completely necessary. I shook the pan when I turned them too. But the crust that formed on the steaks was super. And that cilantro relish mentioned in the recipe is really spectacular. I will make up a batch of that with all fatty fish. It’s bright and flavorful enough to stand up to the fat in salmon or tuna and augment them perfectly.

I served these with a baked sweet potato. It just so happened that I had them on hand. So, this wasn’t in intentional pairing. But the caramel sweetness of the potato was a wonderful contrast to the spicy fish and cilantro relish. We topped all of that off with greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette. It was a lovely meal, and I am looking forward to pan searing a lot more fish.