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Fish Cooking

There are some simple points to start with which apply to all fish cooking

Cook only fresh or fresh frozen fish. The flavour of fish comes from the oils contained in the fish and these start to drain from the fish when it is caught. The longer the time between the fish being caught and being put on your plate the less tasty it will be. This is why older fish can be bought so cheaply at many outlets.

Always start cooking fish at a high temprature. This will ensure that the fish flavour will be sealed into the fish.

Season fish as soon as you have sealed it. This will give maximum benefit from seasoning without drying the fish out.

If you are cooking fresh frozen fish always defrost it overnight in the fridge. When de-frosting do not leave the fish in a position where it drains. You will lose masses of flavour if you do this.

Always ensure scales have been removed if the fish still has skin on.

Cooking Seafood

Seafood is tasty, convenient and easy to prepare. Just follow these guidelines.

Seafood is very quick to cook. Do not over cook.

Easy test gently push flesh with a fork if it starts to flake it is cooked.

White fish is fully cooked when it loses its slightly translucent appearance and turns white or opaque in colour.

Grill

Preheat grill to a medium/high setting. Most seafood will need to be turned halfway through cooking time.

One of the most popular methods of cooking seafood, grilling is healthy, quick and simple.

Seafood should be basted during cooking to prevent drying out and cooking time on a medium/high heat is usually between 6 to 8 minutes.

Small, whole fish or thin pieces of fish can be cooked without turning but do score whole fish at the thickest part to enable the heat of the grill to penetrate.

Small cubes of fish on skewers and thicker pieces of fish should be turned during grilling.

Deep Fry

Heat the oil to 180ºC/350ºF.

Flour egg and then breadcrumb or flour and batter seafood fry until golden brown.

Serve with tartar sauce and wedge of lemon.

Remember to coat the fish thoroughly to protect the flesh and stop the fish from absorbing too much fat.

Cook will take approximately 4-6 minutes and then drain on absorbent kitchen paper before serving.

Shallow fry

Dip the seafood in seasoned flour.

Heat the oil till smoking seal the skin side of the fish first then turn over and reduce the heat.

Seafood with skin on should be fried skin down and always cover when cooking.

Unskinned seafood should be turned halfway through cooking.

Again, it is important to remember to coat the fish. Use seasoned flour and a small amount of oil for frying.

Shallow fry for about 4-5 minutes, turning once.

Poach

Using sufficient liquid to cover half the seafood bring to the boil add the seafood and reduce to a simmer(liquid just bubbling).

Turn seafood after two minutes. If skin on always finish cooking with skin up.

Liquid can be milk, water and lemon juice, white wine and herbs etc.

Not all species of seafood are suitable for poaching.

All or some of this cooking liquid can easily be used to make a sauce by reducing over a high heat after removing the seafood.

Consider thickening with beurre manie, cream or flour and water.

To cook the seafood the liquid should always be just at boiling point.

Poaching will usually take from about 5 minutes for cubes of fish to 8 to 12 minutes for thicker pieces.

Steam

Place the seafood between 2 plates or in a steamer over a large pan of boiling water.

Quick easy and simple.

Because no liquid is required the seafood retains much of its original flavour and tenderness.

Just add seasoning and a little lemon juice and steam for 5-10 minutes for thin fish fillets or 15-20 minutes for thicker pieces of fish or whole fish.

Bake

Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF, Gas mark 5 (unless otherwise stated).

Place the seafood in a suitable dish, sprinkle with generous amounts of lemon juice or white wine, cover and place in the centre of oven. (Fan ovens may be set cooler).

Alternatively add herbs and a few tablespoons of liquid to the small or filleted seafod before enclosing in foil.

Whole fish can be stuffed with a mixture of onion, tomato, mushroom, peppers, lemon or other vegetables, fruits and herbs of your choice before wrapping in foil and baking. This method will take longer but is unlikely to exceed a 30 min cooking time.

Small whole fish, fillets, steaks or cutlets can be baked for about 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish at 200ºC/400ºF (Gas mark 6).

Large whole fish should be baked at 180ºC/350ºF (Gas mark 4) for about 24-30 minutes.

Barbecuing

Most seafood is naturally moist so needs little basting, but for extra flavour on the barbecue it can be left to marinate for around half an hour before cooking.

If barbecuing a whole fish, slits or slashes at the thickest part will make cooking faster and more even.

Cooking fish in foil parcels will give quick, moist results.

Barbecue cooking times are the same for grilling.

If using metal skewers for kebabs make sure they are flat, so that when you turn them over the ingredients don't twist around. Start and finish seafood kebabs with something firm, like an onion, to help the other ingredients stay in place.

We have a selection of pre marinated salmon portions and prepared kebabs perfect for barbecues available all year round.

Microwave

Time based on 800 Watt microwave (refer to manufacturer's instructions).

Place seafood in a suitable container, add 2 x 15ml spoons (2 tablespoons) liquid.

Cover and cook. Standing time 2-3 minutes after cooking.

The microwave is excellent for cooking seafood. Always remember to cover the seafood with a lid or microwaveable food wrap.

Season after cooking and add less liquid than for other methods of cooking.

Cooking time varies according to thickness and quantity but as a rule of thumb 450g (1lb) of fish fillets would cook in about 4-5 minutes plus 2-3 minutes standing time.

When cooking seafood in the microwave arrange the thickest parts of the fish towards the edge of the dish and fold the tail pieces underneath to ensure even cooking.

Make full use of the wide variety of ready prepared sauces on sale. Don't be put off by the fact that the sauce may recommend using with, say, chicken; many taste just as delicious when cooked with seafood.

For an impressive yet fantastically quick ‘en croute’ seafood recipe, place a fillet of fish in a rectangle of puff pastry. Top the fish with garlic and herb soft cheese. Close the pastry parcel and bake.

Flat white fish are quick and easy to cook. Spread fillets with chutney, marmalade or apple sauce and roll up and cook for the simplest, yet most delicious taste experience.

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