extremely crispy skin fish with an olive topping and toasted almonds
Slice some of the olives in half, leaving the others whole. Combine all of the olives with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Toss well to combine. Season with freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Set aside.
Remove the fish from the refrigerator and pat dry. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, skin-side up. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When slightly smoking, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, along with a very generous pinch of salt. Let the oil and salt heat for about 30 seconds, occasionally giving the pan a swirl. Turn off the heat and wipe out the oil and salt from the pan, carefully using paper towels to do so. This process helps create a temporary “seal” on the pan so that the fish doesn’t stick. Let the pan cool down a bit.
Flip the fish over and season the flesh with salt. Return the pan to medium heat and add enough oil to just coat the bottom. When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully lay the fish in the pan, skin-side down. Use the spatula to gently press on the fish to ensure it does not curl up. Let the fish cook for about 2-3 minutes without touching it, or until the skin crisps and creates a golden crust. Use a fish spatula to flip the fish and finish cooking on the other side. I used a thin piece of fish, so it only needed about 2 more minutes to cook through. You don’t want to overcook the fish or it will be tough. I always air on the side of slightly underdone for fish, because it will continue to cook even when you remove it from the pan.
Plate the fish, skin-side up, with a mound of the olive mixture on top. Garnish with the almonds, a little bit more lemon zest, a pinch of flaky sea salt, and a finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.