Make the Best Seafood with These Top Gadgets

We’ve compiled this list of tried-and-true tools to ensure that your fish doesn’t come out a flop.

Summers are for seafood. I love simple fish fillets with oil and lemon, grilled Shrimp Burgers (an ATK Reviews team all-time favorite), or a New England Lobster Roll. But cooking seafood presents plenty of challenges, especially if you don’t have the right tools on hand. I’ve been there myself—food sticking to the cooking surface, fillets falling apart, and overcooked and dry flesh. In the test kitchen, our goal is success in the kitchen every time, so we’ve compiled this list of tried-and-true tools and gadgets to ensure that your fish doesn’t come out a flop. Invest in our winning digital thermometer to be done with overcooked seafood for good, use our favorite seafood scissors to easily snip through lobster and shrimp shells, and put our top fish spatula to work when handling delicate fish with care.

—Carolyn Grillo, Senior Editor, ATK Reviews

Roomy and collapsible, this basket comfortably held fish, broccoli, and dumplings. Our only quibble? The long pop-up handle. To cover the pot—a spacious Dutch oven—we had to depress the basket’s handle into the “down” position; removing the basket meant reaching into the hot steam to pop the handle back up.

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The newest instant-read thermometer by ThermoWorks is the best we’ve tested yet. It has all the features we loved in our previous favorite: a large, grippy handle; a rotating screen with large, highly legible numbers; and a backlight that goes on when viewing conditions are dim. It’s waterproof to a water depth of 39 inches for 30 minutes, it goes to sleep when not in use, and the display wakes up automatically when you pick up the entire unit. The ONE improves on its predecessor, though: As its name indicates, it takes just 1 second to measure a temperature. The backlight is brighter, and you can now use the thermometer when cooking on induction burners—the engineers at ThermoWorks have taken measures to eliminate the electromagnetic interference that sometimes occurs when you use digital thermometers with induction cooktops.

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Heavy and thick, with easy-grip vertical handles, this sturdy, handsome carbon-steel pan made it easy to produce evenly cooked paella and perfectly browned socarrat. The pan required initial seasoning and maintenance, but the resulting patina was practically nonstick, ensuring that the socarrat released effortlessly and that cleanup was simple—with few crusty bits stuck to the pan, a brief scrub was usually all that was necessary before reheating and oiling.

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This oyster knife (we chose the model with a stainless steel blade) is well crafted, with a simple, comfortable wooden handle that never budged in our hands. A slightly upturned tip was helpful when inserting the point into the hinge and was able to slice oyster muscle without damaging the meat. It’s the lightest knife that we tested; one shucker noted that it “seemed to disappear and become part of your hand.”

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Restaurant professionals that we interviewed favor this sturdy knife, and we can see why. Its pointy, upturned tip easily maneuvers to pop hinges and slice muscles. The textured, nonslip polypropylene handle is longer than most of the others that we tested, with a rounded bulb at the end that fit comfortably in hands of all sizes. It performed just as well as our winner but is a bit heavier.

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Our new favorite won us over with its ultrasharp, moderately flexible blade, which made every task seem nearly effortless. It kept its edge throughout testing, even after deboning an additional 10 chicken breasts. Its slightly shorter length proved especially advantageous with finer jobs, giving us more control as we boned chicken breasts. And although we wish the plastic handle were made of a grippier material, its slim profile made it easy to grasp in different ways.

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With a razor-sharp, moderately long blade, this knife made every task seem effortless. Its tip was the narrowest in our lineup, so it made near-surgical incisions, turning tightly around strawberry stems and pineapple eyes so that more of the fruit surrounding them was left intact. And its blade was also narrow at the heel, making it particularly adept at peeling even the most knobbly pieces of ginger. Lightweight with a relatively grippy wood veneer handle, it was also comfortable to hold for long periods.

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The cooking surface was slick, both when new and after extensive use, and food never stuck. It’s one of the lightest models we tested, so it was easy to lift and maneuver, but it was also sturdy and resisted denting. All of our testers liked its wide, comfortable handle. Like every other model, its surface became scratched when we used a knife as if to cut a frittata, but it otherwise held up well.

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