Pan-fried whole fish is one of the best ways to prepare freshly caught fish and it is easier than you think. This tasty fried fish is crisp and golden outside and hot and juicy inside.
- 2 whole medium-sized fish about 1 pound each, scaled and gutted
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup high heat oil (or more if necessary)
- 2 lemons, halved
- Rinse fish under cold tap water to wash away blood and loose scales. Pat dry with paper towels, pat the insides dry too. Use a knife to make slits about an inch apart through the flesh from top fin to bottom fin. Cut at a slight slant so that you can make deeper cuts down to the back bone. This helps the flesh cook evenly and creates more area for seasoning.
- Combine cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of each fish with seasoned cornstarch to coat the fish completely.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Oil is ready when it shimmers. Gently lay each fish down into pan so as not to splash hot oil out of pan. Do not move fish while they are cooking. After 1 minute, lower heat to medium. Fry for 4 more minutes then, when it is time to turn the fish over use tongs and a spatula to carefully turn the fish over. Fry for 5 minutes on other side.
- Remove from skillet with tongs and fish spatula to drain on a wire rack. Avoid paper towels as this can make the crispy fish soggy because the paper towels will trap steam as it cools.
- Serve with lemon halves to squeeze juice over fish.
Seriously, be careful when frying. Hot oil can be very dangerous. Do not leave the frying pan unattended while the stove is on. Hot oil can boil over and start fires. I know people who have burned down their home and lost lives by walking away from hot oil on the stove because of distractions. If you live with babies, toddlers and rowdy pets, you might want to skip frying for a while.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Fry
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Fried whole fish low-carb keto dinner