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 sautéed), 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:

Spatula_2

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;
  • You can pick up a Lamson and Goodnow Chef’s Slotted Turner (I’ve got one of these too) for $25 at their online store (or at amazon, where the more expensive ebony-handled turner is a better buy);
  • 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 …

Dorie Greenspan

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