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pan-searing fish questions

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daverose808 Apr 20, 2008 04:00 PM

I have watched a lot of Gordon Ramsay videos on the internet where he pan-sears fish, like sea bass.

1) what is the best kind of pan to use to pan sear fish? which brand do u recommend which is easy to clean and evenly distributes the heat well?

2) in one of Gordon Ramsay's videos, he scores the skin of the sea bass before he puts it in the pan, skin side down. i couldnt find any sea bass in my store, so i got chillean sea bass. i tried using 5 different knives, and nothing would cut through the skin without really shredding it. was it that i didnt have the right knife or is the skin on chillean sea bass different from regular sea bass?

3) i have a chef's knife from cutco and it still doesnt cut through tomatoes as cleanly and easily as i would expect from such an expensive knife. when i watch gordon ramsay's videos, he uses knives that are not serrated, so i know with the chef's knife i am at least in the right direction. what kind of knife do i need to use to slice tomatoes cleanly (ie, not pushing down on the skin, so that the sides end up perfectly smooth)?

4) gordon ramsay always uses pepper from a pepper mill. is there any difference between crushing your own pepper and using regular table pepper other than the aesthetic quality?

5) after i pan-seared the chillean sea bass, my apartment was very smoky for a few hours afterwards, and smelled like fish for 2 days. is there any trick to preventing that when you dont have an exhaust over the stovetop, besides just keeping your windows open?

Thank you for answering all these questions; i know they are a lot. but i am just trying to get into cooking now and am very excited.

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    mojoeater RE: daverose808 Apr 20, 2008 04:16 PM

    #4: Fresh ground pepper from a pepper mill has a much coarser texture and a stronger, more peppery flavor. It really adds a lot to cooking and enhances food better tableside as well. I will never go back to already ground stuff.

    1. tuqueboy RE: daverose808 Apr 20, 2008 05:20 PM

      2) chilean sea bass is a completely different fish, which isn't even a bass. that probably didn't have anything to do with cutting the skin, however -- just need your knife to be super sharp.

      1. Sam Fujisaka RE: daverose808 Apr 20, 2008 05:44 PM

        1) Any pan...heated to a fairly high but not too high temperature.
        2) Any sharp knife: push down with fingers on both sides of the cut to provide skin tension.
        3) Any sharp knife.
        4) Much better pepper flavor and added texture.
        5) Practice. No need for smoke if your pan is hot but not too hot; you have enough but not too much oil, and, sure, why not keep the windows open?

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