Fish Flipping Made Easy
Fortunately, when I need the right spatula for turning and lifting delicate fish (or omelets, chicken breasts, veal scaloppini or something that’s being sautÃ©ed), it’s always a happy day because I’ve got flexible spatulas in each of my kitchens.
Here’s the one that lives in New York:
The spatula’s slightly wedged shape, thin blade and flexibility (bend it and it will give) make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces – think of it as the sports car of spatulas – while its shape is cradling and its slotted spines allow excess liquids to fall back into the pan.
The first time I saw one of these was when I was working in Daniel Boulud’s kitchen. (Until Food Network chefs started flipping them around, they were rarely seen in public.) Of course, I ran out and bought one as soon as I hung up my apron.
If you’re in a store, buying one is simple: you just point to the spatula of your choice. The problems start when you try to stock up online – the tool is variously called a flexible spatula, a slotted spatula, a chef’s spatula, a flexible slotted chef’s spatula, or even a flexible slotted French chef’s spatula. Aaarrgh.
Just to get you started, here are a few sources for the many-nomered always-dependable spatula:
You can get a Wusthof slotted spatula (that’s the one in the picture) for about $40 at Chefs Catalog; it’s pricey, but you’re only going to buy it once in your life – there are no moving parts to wear out;
And then there’s the new kid on the block: Mario Batali’s Soft Grip Slotted Fish Turner, made of nylon and ringing in at an easy-to-take $8 on amazon.
I’m not sure that nylon has the support of metal, but for 8 bucks I’ll give it a test drive. Unless you know something I should know …