Fish Cooking Basics - How to Transform Those Fish You Just Caught into a Wonderful Seafood Dinner
Fish Cooking Basics
NUKING (MICROWAVING) FISH - Fillets, 1" thick steaks
The old standby by for cooking fish, there are countless variations on how to pay fry fish.The basics are to heat butter or oil over medium heat in a pan big enough to comfortably hold your fish. Then cook on one side till brown then turn over and brown the other side. This shouldn't take long so don't over cook them!
What you do with them before you drop them in the pan is what matters the most. To be a purist, you can pat them dry and just lightly season them with salt and pepper. Of course if you want to get fancy, you can always coat them with egg and bread them with flour or bread crumbs.Then we get into seasoning of the breading and things get really interesting. Have fun, experiment.
BROILING - Fillets & Steaks 1/4" to 1-1/2" thick, Scallops & Shrimp Think of broiling as blast cooking your seafood. Put the top rack ~4 inches below the broiling element and pre-heat that puppy. One thing to remember is that broiling can suck the moisture right out of fish, so you have to make sure it doesn't dry out and get nasty. Fish like Salmon, Tuna and Swordfish have enough oil already to keep them moist, but think about marinating other types of fish.
Drop your fish on the broiling pan, season it lightly and get it under the broiler. Keep a watchful eye on it though. Broilers will take food from done to crispy in the blink of an eye.
STEAMING SEAFOOD - Fillets, Steaks, Whole Fish and Shellfish
Steaming is about as easy and healthy as it gets. No added oil is needed, just a little salt and pepper. If you like, you can steam your veggies right along with your fish! Just remember the 10 minutes to an inch rule and go for it.
BAKING SEAFOOD - Fish Fillets, Steaks, Shellfish & Whole Fish
Baking is the tame version of broiling. Set your oven for 450° and away you go! As for the fish, arrange them one layer deep in a lightly oiled pan, tucking any thin parts under so they don't burn. Variations include breading, coating with oil/butter, and topping with fruit and/or veggies.
POACHING (NOT BOILING) SEAFOOD - Whole fish, Steaks, Fillets, Shrimp, Scallops
Basic poaching technique is to cook the seafood in a broad, shallow pan filled with enough hot, but not boiling liquid to completely cover it. Any liquid will do, from plain water to concoctions of water, wine, herbs and stock. The liquid should be brought to a boil then turned down till you see movement, but no bubbles breaking on the surface. Carefully place your food in the water and cook the required time. Another very healthy way to cook your seafood!
STIR-FRYING - Chunks and strips of firm fish, Shrimp, Scallops, Squid
Stir frying is broiling from the bottom effectively. This is because to correctly stir fry, even cooking, make sure that your pieces of food are fairly uniform. Here is the basic stir frying technique.
GOOD OLD GRILLING - What can't you grill?
So there you have the basics of cooking fish. Best of luck in your cooking adventures! Just remember to let your creativity flow and don't be afraid of trying new things!
Cliff is a long time fisherman and cook hails from the remote lands in Northern Idaho, but has now moved to the big city. He is also the founder of the web based fishing show 'Fishing with Cliff' that can be found at http://www.FishingWithCliff.com where you can watch on demand episodes of his show, and get more great cooking ideas!
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