12 Years Later, Le Bernardin’s Crispy-Skinned Fish Is Still Genius

12 Years Later, Le Bernardin’s Crispy-Skinned Fish Is Still Genius

Twelve years ago, I wrote about a gonzo trick for crispy-skinned fish I’d witnessed in the kitchen at Le Bernardin.

One of the fanciest restaurants in New York City (and the world) decidedly wasn’t using stone-ground local grains, but Wondra flour—a 1960s-era convenience product that wondrously dissolves more quickly than all-purpose. I had to tell the world about this technique, and our community quickly fell in love, too. But then, until recently, I forgot the joys of using it myself.

What happened? In the intervening years, another method had taken up full-time residence in my brain: Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish) from Sally Schneider, which made its Genius debut in 2015. Slow-roasting offers a long runway before overcooking; there is no splattering, no flipping, no doing much more than sliding your fish, any fish, into a low oven. The drumbeat of easy, easy, easy called and I didn’t fight or question it whenever I had fish that needed cooking. (I had a baby, then a pandemic to navigate, then a cookbook to finish.)

With slow-roasting, the flesh melts like butter and it looks like borderline sushi (“Don’t worry if the top of the fish has a slightly transparent, raw look,” Schneider warned us). In other words, it’s a perfect method for people who already love fish. But people who don’t, I recently discovered, are more likely to change their position for a golden sear, a crackly contrast, and a dinner that tastes not far off from fish and chips.

These chip-esque fish re-entered my life abruptly, when my parents handed me a riddle of a dinner to cook (a large misshapen hunk of salmon they wanted seared crisp). Only after struggling to wing it, I remembered the Le Bernardin way: Dust evenly-sized fillets with salt, pepper, and Wondra (I’ve also used rice flour, another superfine, quick-crisper). Sear the skin side, then flip, and move to the oven briefly. The technique isn’t difficult; it only takes attention and a few active minutes.

My husband, an avowed fish-resister, and daughter, new to the genre, are hooked—a triumph that forever reaffirms this recipe’s Genius status (at least if you ask me, anyway).

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Have you tried Le Bernardin’s crispy-skinned fish technique? Tell us in the comments!

This post was originally published on this site (link)

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