Frying fish isn't that difficult to do, but it's easy to screw up if you're not paying attention. The folks at America's Test Kitchen have a few simple tips to help you get perfectly cooked, perfectly browned fish in no time. The trick? Start with a little sugar.
The video above shows you the results, and we'll reiterate what it says: don't worry, you won't taste the sugar at all. Sprinkle just a little sugar on one side of the fish — that's the side you'll sear first. Sear it on one side, and turn it over, and then toss the whole pan, fish and all, into a 220C oven so the other side gets some colour and the fish cooks evenly. I like to call this the "sear and blast" method, and use a similar technique (sans sugar) for steaks and chops.
If you're curious about why this works, the sucrose in the sugar will break down into fructose on the surface of the fish at a much lower temperature than is usually required for the Maillard reaction, which is the change that makes seared everything so delicious. The sugar gives you the colour and the flavour at lower temperatures. Plus, this way you don't have to fry your fish forever or smoke out your kitchen with that fishy smell no one loves.
Make Beautifully Browned Fish Without Risk of Overcooking [Americas Test Kitchen]