fish a la Bernardin by Matt Lieber was delish but why less crispy?

Hi Merrill and Amanda! Sweet app, congrats on your web book. Why did my crispy skin fish a la Bernardin turn out delicious tomight but not get the "searing in oil" effect of this recipe?? Of a few cupboard-limit-forced deviations that I made from the recipe, we suspect but are not sure it was one of the following: 1) using a 50/50 blend of safflower and olive oil in place of canola OR 2) using a square metal baking pan instead of a heavier croque retainig more heat OR 3) not pre-heating the pan with oil using the broiler though the recipe said to oven-bake at 400. Still, I'm ned sure why it did not generate the heat in the pan to make the skin bubble as descibrd in the recipe. In any case, this a stylistic question somewhat since the actual result of the recipe tonight was delicious!! Thanks largely to our friends who shared their fresh-caught off Kodiak isand Alaskan salmon. Your thoughts welcome! Many thanks, Matt Lieber

Matthew L


Kristen M. August 25, 2012
Hi Matt -- thanks for trying out the fish! I'm glad you liked it even though it didn't achieve maximum crispness.

Merrill's right on all counts (and she's made this recipe a few times, so she should know!) -- the oil should be very hot but not smoking. Did you sear on the stovetop initially, or did you heat the oil and pan in the 400 degree oven?

I just realized the stovetop searing may not have been clear in the recipe until step 3 -- I've edited step 1 on the Food52 version of the recipe to make this more clear:

If that's the case, I'm very sorry for the confusion! Thanks so much for your comments.
Merrill S. August 25, 2012
Hi, Matt! Hope you guys are doing well. Thanks for checking out the app, and for asking a great question. I'm going to forward this along to Kristen Miglore, our Senior Editor, who wrote about the recipe -- I'm sure she'll have some thoughts on why the skin may not have crisped up properly, but I'm guessing it was a combination of the things you describe above. You need the pan and the oil to be blistering hot when the fish skin hits them in order to create that crisp crust. Did you use Wondra? That's also a key element.
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