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Preparing to Cook

    What You’ll Need

    Seasoned cast-iron skilletSeasoned cast-iron skillet

    Nonstick skillet, preferably ovenproofNonstick skillet, preferably ovenproof

    Fish tweezers or small pliersFish tweezers or small pliers

    Flexible knife, boning knifeFlexible knife, boning knife

    Flexible spatula, fish spatulaFlexible spatula, fish spatula


    While some of the equipment listed here is not 100% necessary, having the right tools can make cooking fish more successful and less stressful.

    1. Nonstick skillets and well-seasoned cast-iron skillets allow the fish to release from the pan more easily. Nonstick and cast-iron skillets should not be heated over more than medium-high heat. Always be sure to add enough fat to the pan.

    2. Fish tweezers or small flat-nose pliers are good for plucking pin bones from salmon, though sablefish (black cod) bones are too tough to remove prior to cooking.

    3. A thin-bladed, flexible knife, such as a fillet or boning knife, is ideal for skinning salmon or sablefish and slicing paper-thin cured or raw fish.

    4. Fish spatulas—long, tapered, and slotted—make lifting and flipping fish easier, though any thin, flexible spatula will work.

    5. To get started, rinse fish in cold water to remove any slush-ice residue, then pat dry with paper towels.

    6. Prep the fish according to your recipe, i.e. remove pin bones, skin, etc.

    7. Sprinkle with salt (see dry brine below), if desired.