Published November 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.
We found that a fish fillet may have more uses than its name implies.
Fish spatulas—elongated versions of the standard pancake flipper—are designed expressly for shimmying underneath delicate fillets. And we’ve found no better tool for extracting sticky vegetables from a baking sheet or transferring fresh-baked pastries from oven to cooling rack. That is, if you get your hands on a good one. A well-designed spatula combines ample strength for scraping up sticky food bits with enough pliability to sneak underneath delicate foods virtually unnoticed. Of the six blades we slipped under pan-fried fish fillets, glazed roasted sweet potato discs, and brittle butter cookies, two failed to pass muster. One product gawkily protruded almost 3 inches longer than most other models, making it nearly impossible to overturn one fish fillet without disturbing its neighbors. The uncomfortably stiff, flat, all-metal flipper from another model needed a good, hard push to work its way under our caramelized potatoes—and even then it stuttered and lost one to the counter. More agile blades ran a reasonable 6 ½ to 7 inches in length, sported a finely honed slant at their edges to dig nimbly under flaky fish, and curved gently upward at their tips to better cradle slippery foods. We didn’t think the blunt and flimsy handles attached to two brands' blades were deal-breakers, but it made us appreciate the ideal balance and control of our second place winner and the sleek, supportive curl of our new favorite spatula.