Let me let you in on a secret: I am far from the best cook at Epicurious. So, when I heard that the fish spatula I seem to use nearly daily was a pretty well-regarded tool amongst my most culinarily skilled coworkers, I was thrilled.
You see, I'm a simple gal: one wooden spoon and one fabulous spatula are pretty much all I use stove-side. When it comes to flipping, prying, and plucking, I've heard a strong case for a whole host of spatulas, tongs, and even chopsticks. I respect that, I really do—and maybe one day I'll get there. But for now my fish is turning out evenly seared, my cookies are sliding off the pan, and my brunch game—eggs, pancakes, and crepes—has seriously improved with the use of one very basic new tool: The fish spatula. In fact, right now that fish spatula feels like the single flipping tool I need.
What sets it apart? A sturdy, slotted plane of stainless steel with an asymmetrical beveled edge, the fish spatula has a much longer head than your typical plastic variety, allowing you the right leverage to flip delicate items perfectly. It also feels good in the hand thanks to a wide wooden handle. It has a nice bit of springy give. And the spatula is thinner than many other varieties, with a sharp edge—which, again, makes it easy to slide under thin foods like fried eggs. Our Associate Editor Joe Sevier says it's quite simply the best device for flipping anything delicate—and who am I to disagree? Here's everything I use mine for.
Starting with the obvious, this is a great tool to have on hand when you're cooking fish. The thin, sharp edge can slide under a tender filet without damaging it. The plane of the spatula itself is quite big, which makes it perfect for pressing down gently atop a delicate piece of trout or salmon, assuring that the edges don't curl up and the whole piece gets a gorgeous, golden sear. I've got some version of this Crispy-Skin Salmon with Miso-Honey Sauce in my recipe rotation right now, and I owe the unmarred, delightfully crackly skin to my fish spatula.
Once again: beveled edge to the rescue. With my fish spatula, I can slide between a burger and a cast-iron skillet without any chance of crumbling the meat. If it got a bit too greasy in your pan, the fish spatula can also help you out: the slotted plane won't transport grease, so you can lift the burger out of the grease, pour off a little, and put it back in to finish browning.
Turning Pancakes and Crepes
Joe says he loves using his for turning fresh, fluffy pancakes. The long paddle eases under the full diameter of the pancake, stabilizing it for a quick toss. I've used mine with wafer thin crepes without tearing as well.
Anyone who appreciates a golden runny yolk should trust nothing but a fish spatula for flipping. The slight flexibility coupled with a wide surface area means your little eggs can be eased out of the pan (or given a quick flip) without breaking. If you've got bacon in the next pan, grab it with your fish spatula too—the slotted head means extra bacon grease will drip back into the pan.
Prying up Cookies
Most fish spatulas (mine included) are stainless steel—this means they provide much more force than a rubber spatula for prying cookies from a sheet pan and lifting them up in one, no-squish scoop. Yes, I should be waiting until my cookies cool before I try to move them, but if I want one piping hot from the tray dunked in a cool glass of oat milk, who's going to stop me?
What to Not Use It For
Be careful not to use your stainless steel fish spatula in your non-stick skillet, as you risk scratching and damaging the surface coating.
Here's the fish spatula I love:
Originally Appeared on Epicurious