Even a thick piece of fish cooks in seven or eight minutes, so have everything else on the table and ready to serve before you put the fish in the pan. All your sauces, all your garnishes, all your side dishes, your bread, your lemons, your silverware.
The most common mistake with seafood is overcooking it. "The difference between moist and juicy and dried out is about two minutes," says Flynn. If it's a whole fish, Prewitt touches its head just behind the neck. If the flesh gives way, it's ready. Stoops inserts a knife into the thickest part of the fillet until he hits bone, then rotates the knife a quarter-turn. If the meat comes off the bone, you're there.