Everyone knows you should eat fish at least twice a week. But few people do it for one simple reason: it’s a hassle to cook and prepare. And yet, it really isn’t.
Here are seven ways to cook your fish, from start to finish.
Not the healthiest of methods, frying is suitable for small and medium-sized fillets, as well as thin slices.
Before being placed in the fryer, the fish must either: floured, breaded or battered.
A small fish should not be emptied and only remain 5 minutes in the oil. Larger fish are gutted, carved, and put for 10 minutes in the fryer.
Note that bigger fishes can be cooked in two stages: six minutes, then remove from fryer, heat the oil again, the plunge them once more and let brown.
Select a suitable vegetable oil. If you want to reuse it, make sure it is clear and does not contain suspended debris.
Fish can be grilled on a barbecue, or other similar electrical devices.
For barbecuing, do not scale the fish: it protects the flesh from the power of fire. Similarly, fillets will be cooked on the skin side. If you have time, marinate the fish two hours before placing it on the barbecue. You’ll progressively reveal the flavor.
In all cases, brush the fish with olive oil (unless it has been marinated). Start again after changing the cooking surface to prevent the fish from drying out. Incisions have been made in the skin to prevent it from bursting (except for a small fish).
Also, it is important not to move the fish around the grill until one side is cooked, otherwise the skin will tear itself apart.
As surprising as it may seem, cooking fish fillets and steaks in the microwave can yield amazing results.
Of course, you’ll need a dish that is microwave-safe, like a pyrex bowl or silicone foil. In the case of a dish without a lid, use plastic wrap to cover the top. You’ll need to make a few holes to allow the steam to escape.
The fish doesn’t need a lot of water to cook, as it is naturally moist. In addition to the seasoning, you can add a little wine, fish stock, or butter on top of the fish. It’ll capture the flavors and make a delicious juice.
Try to have an even thickness when it comes to the fish. Otherwise, you’ll need the thicker pieces to be on the outside of the dish, and the thinner ones closer to the center.
Cooking the fish is very fast: 5 minutes per pound at 800W. Don’t forget that the cooking process will continue for a few minutes, even after the fish is out. Plan for a rest period of about 3-5 minutes before serving.
The fish should keep its flavor and colors. This cooking method is also suitable for a frozen fish.
Most fish can be cooked in the oven. This cooking method is used particularly for medium-sized fish or large ones: flounder, plaice, sole, turbot, whiting, skate, mullet, mackerel, sea bass, dogfish, bream, pike, carp, hake, place, monkfish, haddock, tuna, eel and cod.
A fish can be cooked three ways in the oven:
En papillote (in a pouch/covered)
This method allows the fish to cook in its own juices and keep it moist. You can use foil, silicone or parchment paper. Do not turn over the foil during cooking.
Cooking in foil can be compared to steaming as the parcel holds in moisture to steam the fish. In general, the oven is heated to about 350°F.
The fish is cooked in an open dish with cooking juices (such as a broth). It can be cooked at the same time as the side dish (mushrooms, potatoes, etc.). You’ll need to make some small cuts on the fish’s skin to prevent it from bursting during cooking. The fish will also need to be watered regularly (every 10 minutes) after the first fifteen minutes of cooking.
The oven is heated to 420°F and it takes from 15 minutes (for a small fish – half a lb) to 50 minutes (for a large fish – 3.5lb) for the process.
The idea is to grill the fish around the upper parts of the oven. The fish will need to bathed well before cooking, and shouldn’t be too big (under a pound). Slices should not exceed a couple of inches.
Again, you’ll need to make small incisions on the skin to prevent it from bursting. Brush the fish with butter or oil, or add flour before oiling to create a crust that protects it during cooking. 5 minutes should be sufficient (assuming the upper part of the oven have been preheated). This technique is ideal for sardines.
Fish cooked in a pan are generally medium-sized fish fillets and steaks.
Once the fish is prepared, it should be dried with paper towels. Season the fish and then roll it in flour. You will bask it in a fatty preparation (butter-oil mixture) 5 minutes per side. Fillets with skin will need to be cooked on the skin side.
Be sure to leave enough space between the fish fillets so that steam can escape properly (otherwise the flesh withers).
You can check for doneness by detaching a fish bone from the flesh with a knife. If it resists, the fish isn’t cooked thoroughly.
Poaching is a great method for any fish, although particularly larger ones.
The technique is as follows: the fish is cooked in a simmering liquid (close to boiling), allowing the gradual cooking to preserve the delicacy of the flesh. The fish will be less likely to break or dry out. The liquid may be broth or fish stock.
If the fish is whole, it must first be placed in the warm broth. A fish broken up into pieces will have to be put in near-boiling liquid. Once the broth simmers, do not let it boil (flesh bursts when the water is boiling).
Cooking time depends on the size of the fish and is counted from the moment the simmer beings. 10 minutes per pound for large fish, 8 minutes per pound for flat fishes, and 12 minutes for small fishes (half a pound).
For larger, more fragile fishes, it can be useful to wrap them in a muslin or fine linen before plunging them into the broth. If you intend to serve your fish cold, let it cool in its own broth.
This method is primarily suited for fish steaks. Steaming can be done with broth, fish stock, or even plain water.
Steaks with a thickness over a couple of inches will have to be thinned down to ensure even cooking. Arrange the, in a single layer, in a box (maybe made of bamboo). Always check that the bottom does not touch the boiling liquid. You can protect the side of the fish that go around the box with lettuce leaves.
Note that steaming a fish in water will be harder than with broth, as steam tends to cause the escape of aromas. Oil your fish at the end of cooking to “fix” the flavors. Herbs will have to also be added after, and not in the water.