5 Ingredients or Fewer

Le Bernardin's Crispy-Skinned Fish

July 20, 2011
7 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger. Prop Stylist: Gerri Williams. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A simple formula for doing right by fish, adapted from On the Line by Eric Ripert and Christine Muhlke (with a surprise ingredient straight out of the 1960s). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
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Le Bernardin's Crispy-Skinned Fish
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
  • 4 (6-ounce) skin-on fish fillets (like striped bass or salmon)
  • 1 dash fine sea salt
  • 1 dash freshly ground white pepper (black is fine too, if you don't mind the speckles)
  • 1 handful Wondra flour, for dusting
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a large, oven- and flame-proof sauté pan on the stovetop until the oil is very hot, but not smoking.
  2. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper, and dust with Wondra flour. Blow off excess.
  3. Put the fish in the pan, skin side down, and press down on the fish with a spatula. (The skin immediately contracts and buckles, but you want to keep it all in contact with the pan for maximum crisping.) Sear on the stovetop over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the fish over, put the pan in the oven, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the center of the fillet and, if left for 5 seconds, feels just warm when touched to your lip. Serve immediately.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

28 Reviews

Laura L. March 23, 2024
Have made with halibut and sea bass fillets - Wondra-full! Glad to have another use for Wondra flour besides the excellent Korean fried chicken wing recipe (also from this site). A simple preparation that really has the taste and texture of the fish come through.
winterholly May 4, 2023
I don't have a review, but a question. Why do you preheat the oven? It seems like this recipe is made exclusivley on the stovetop. Am I missing something?
Mary G. May 4, 2023
Ha! I thought the same thing. Read again
winterholly May 5, 2023
Thank you for catching my error and helping me to SLOW DOWN. :)
KDad N. August 30, 2020
Super easy, and delicious! I have tried to cook salmon many different ways (with pretty good success), but I think that this simple preparation is the best.

I think you’ll love it!

Thanks Bean!
MV June 1, 2020
So........... all I have is skinless cod filets. I'm guessing this would still work for that?? HELP.
KarenO August 13, 2018
Fabulous meal (again). Made it with salmon and served with creamy whipped potatoes and sauce of 1/3c yogurt, 2 TBS dill, 1 sm garlic clove minced, S+P. My fish-averse husband loved it (again).
Andrew C. May 31, 2017
This looks great! Not to be ....errr.... ___-retentive, but the recipe calls for *fillets* - and I'm pretty sure that's a fish *steak* in the photo... >;-)
Alex T. June 22, 2015
My favorit is blackened salmon with extra cripsy skin, it is real good.
Randi June 10, 2015
I made this tonight with mahi mahi and brown rice flour. Delicious?
areessvee May 29, 2014
a dusting of all purpose flour and all on the stovetop cooking made a crispy golden crust on the skinless side of my halibut. delish! but i'm wondering - is the fish skin meant to be eaten?
VinXpert June 22, 2015
Absolutely! That's why it is crisped. Delicious and healthful.
Payal April 30, 2014
Just tried this technique with basa fillets, dusted with cornflour. My first time cooking fish and it worked a charm. Crispy skin, perfectly flaky fish and delicious with a squeeze of lime served over a simple rocket salad.
salena April 1, 2014
this worked beautifully with black cod. Was told striped bass is illegal to sell in New Jersey.
JohnSkye October 2, 2013
BLOW off excess (wondra flour)... BLOW it off???? other than me and my wife, not sure how many, or which, chefs/cooks i want "blowing" on my food ... well, maybe nigella ... or cat.
JohnL March 4, 2014
If you mean Cat Cora, I just tried her Olive Oil Cake recipe and it is superb. A lot like the one on this site, but it has finely chopped almonds and is baked in 10-inch pan. If I'm splurging on calories, I serve it with mascarpone buttercream (6 TB room temp unsalted butter whipped with 8 oz mascarpone till light & creamy, then beat in 2 cups confectioner's sugar sifted. It's a very nice go with either of the cakes.
Dina M. August 20, 2013
If you've ever been to Le Bernadin, you know you've dreamt of this recipe since you walked out the door. The crispiness of the skin is just incredible. Can't wait to make this.
Susan H. June 14, 2013
why can't u just finish stovetop? that's what I d...
JohnL March 4, 2014
The skin will be crispier if done the way the recipe directs (both pan and oven).
Lula M. July 3, 2012
Sounds great, but how do you keep the skin from sticking to the bottom of the pan, or is that what the flour does?
jburseja October 19, 2011
What side dishes and bread would go along with this recipe.
Kristen M. October 19, 2011
It depends on what sort of fish you choose, but I'd say it's really flexible! There are no strong flavors in the seasoning, so it will match well with whatever you' serving -- sauteed greens, salads, roasted potatoes, you name it!

If you'd like more ideas, you could try asking the Hotline for the Food52 community's advice -- just click the banner in the middle of the recipe that says "Have a question about this recipe?".
Mary C. July 29, 2011
what is the other alternative for Wondra flour?
Kristen M. July 29, 2011
Wondra flour is a brand name for "instant flour" -- meaning it's been pre-cooked and dried again. It has a fine, gritty texture, much like cornmeal. If you can find other brands labelled instant flour, that would be the closest substitute, but fine cornmeal or all purpose flour will also work fine with this technique -- just sprinkle lightly and blow off any excess.
scott October 26, 2015
Have you tried this with cornmeal?
Donna C. November 14, 2018
yes I have; and yesterday I used semolina flour on an enormous hunk of wild-caught sea bass and it was, once again, perfect.
johnandrewwalsh July 26, 2011
Can you do more than one fillet at a time in the pan? How long can you let the cooked fish rest if you're making four portions? Thanks!
Kristen M. July 27, 2011
Yes, you can do as many portions as will fit in your pan without crowding (that would cool down the pan too much and they'd end up steaming instead of searing). You can also get 2 large pans going at once to give them more space. I don't think this is a preparation you can hold very long -- any attempts to keep it warm (or re-warm it) would likely overcook the fish, or make the skin soggy, or both!