This recipe is part of Crispianity: a column devoted to all foods crispy and crunchy, two of the most underappreciated attributes of a great dish. Author Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer, pairing here with her friend, photographer Evan Sung. Sussman’s most recent cookbook, co-authored with Lee Brian Schrager, is Fried and True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.

I’ve sacrificed many an innocent fish in the interest of achieving a restaurant-worthy layer of crisped-up skin contrasted with a snowy, perfectly cooked fillet. All of the expected steps – making sure the skin was bone-dry, scoring it to prevent curling, using a panini press to keep the fish flat, trying nonstick pans and stainless – failed me. The skin would burn, stick to the pan, or crisp in parts, the flesh a victim of wanton culinary carnage.

Wondra flour to the rescue! Originally devised by food scientists to avoid clumpy gravies, it’s a marvel of food innovation that also happens to be a cook’s kitchen darling. Low in protein and granulated into tiny particles, it dusts anything it touches with a perfectly even snowshower that creates the ideal seal for pan-searing. It doesn’t burn like regular flour, and helps coax maximum crisp out of even the most recalcitrant specimen. The accompanying romesco sauce has just the right combination of richness and acidity, transforming an already elevated fillet of fish from a prosaic weeknight offering into something entirely special.