In our brand new monthly Ask Australis column, we answer questions from our readers (like you) about anything and all things fish. Have a fish question you’d like answered? Submit it in the comments below.
Q: What’s a fish spatula? And do I really need one to cook fish?
A: With a kitchen gadget for everything these days—the salad spinner, avocado scooper, and Poach pods for poaching eggs to name a few—we’re so glad you asked.
First things first, here at Australis we believe in a minimalistic kitchen and that you don’t need fancy tools and gadgets to cook and enjoy fish. That said, we also believe that in certain cases a specialized tool does make the task of cooking easier or more efficient.
So, the fish spatula. It’s an elongated and thinner version of the common metal spatula, designed to easily slip under delicate fillets of fish. It also has long slots that allow any liquid (for example, when poaching) to drain away. And although really any heat-proof spatula will do when cooking and serving fish, a fish spatula will certainly make the job easier. It will allow you to flip and remove a fillet from its cooking pan without tearing the flesh.
It’s also multipurpose. Australis ambassador and chef Nicole Gaffney uses her fish spatula for most applications that require a spatula: flipping pancakes, grilling burgers, and removing items from a roasting pan, for example. Fine Cooking suggests using a fish spatula for transferring cookies from baking sheet to cooling rack, flipping grilled cheese sandwiches, and pan frying things like potato pancakes to drain the cooking oil. The Kitchn even recommends using it to cleanly cut brownies.
As for which fish spatula to add to your kitchen toolkit, we recommend the OXO Good Grips Fish Turner or the Winco 6.5-inch Blade Fish Spatula for a less expensive option. If you usually use a non-stick pan, we advise against using a metal fish spatula as to not scratch the pan’s coating. Fish spatulas made of silicon or nylon should work just fine.
For all of you fish spatula fans out there, what do you like to use yours for?