In this post:
- the correct name for a fish slice – what it is and what it isn’t
- size is important
- rigidity is important
- finding the right fish slice
- old-fashioned fish slices – used for serving, not cooking
My old friend, had-it-for-years, non-stick fish slice has sadly bit the bullet. It’s final demise was an awful mistake – I put it directly onto the hob and, of course, it melted.
All these years I hadn’t appreciated my old friend as I should have. I thought replacing such a simple item would be a cinch. It wasn’t.
The best term to use for a fish slice
Firstly, getting the vernacular right produced an obstacle. Unlike a rose, a fish slice by any other name, could turn out to be something completely different. ‘Food turner’ is a useful equivalent term when searching on the internet.
A fish slice/food turner is NOT a spatula
However, what a fish slice definitely is not is a spatula (I was a bit surprised about the confusion on this subject). A fish slice fans out in shape and has draining holes. A spatula is either a long, flat utensil for smoothing surfaces – cake icing for example, or a slightly concave, flexible utensil for getting every last drop out of a mixing bowl.
Size is important
Then finding a fish slice big enough to turn an entire fish fillet proved difficult. Finding a food turner rigid enough to actually turn food also proved testing.
Rigidity is important
Rigidity is also important (oh dear! Am I having a series of actress said to the bishop moments?) for scraping away the lovely crispy bits of fried potato, or the gorgeous gungy bits when you deglaze anything…. but you don’t want to much of a good thing… the fish slice should have a little flexibility in order to allow it to edge its way under delicate food without breaking it, such as a fried egg for example.
You’d have thought that such a useful utensil would be ubiquitous – far from it. There are loads of floppy silicone tools around (what they are used for remains a mystery).
Finding the right fish slice
There are masses of small tools which would break the back of any delicate fish fillet.
I searched the internet, making an especial study of both the mighty Amazon, and the excellent Lakeland.
I could find only one solution: it’s the best of both worlds (metal and silicon) – the Judge turner. Because it has a metal handle, if you leave it resting on the edge of the pan it doesn’t dissolve, leaving unattractive notches; but neither does it seem to get too hot. The silicon edge is fine for non-stick surfaces.
Even this has its drawback – it could be a touch longer. But at least it does the job. And it’s available, inevitably from Amazon, currently at just over £8. The excellent brand, ZYLISS, makes a similar, silicon-edged version, available in the USA for about $13.
Old-fashioned fish slices
Originally a fish slice was a Victorian silver utensil used for serving fish, not cooking it.