How to Shallow Fry Fish

Shallow frying or meunière is the cooking of fish in shallow fat in a frying pan on top of the stove. The fish is served with a garnish of lemon rounds, parsley and nut brown butter. All types of fresh fish may be shallow fried, for example small whole fish such as Dover sole, lemon sole, red mullet, trout and herring. cuts of small fish such as fillets and goujons of sole and fillets and goujonettes of plaice, and cuts of large fish such as turbot steaks, suprêmes of halibut, darnes of cod and salmon steaks.

Whatever the type and cut of fish used, the application of meunière is generally always the same. Once the basic principle of shallow frying is mastered the significant aspect is the length of time required for cooking, thicker cuts such as tronçons and darnes obviously needing more time than fillets.

Fish may be shallow fried in a number of media:
(a) olive oil and clarified butter;
(b) other vegetable oils or general purpose frying oil, with or without clarified butter;
(c) lard.

The temperature of the fat for shallow frying can of course be measured – it should be approximately 160°C.

The fish must be thoroughly dried and passed through seasoned flour at the last possible moment before frying. All surplus flour should be shaken from the fish before cooking.

Shallow fried fish should be cooked in a frying pan, preferably one made of iron.

The fish should always be placed into the hot cooking media presentation side first. This implies that the skin side of fillets is facing upwards, although this rule does not apply to goujons, darnes or tronçons.