Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Heb 12:1-2 (NLT)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tips and Tricks for Cooking with Fish Fillets

Growing up, I didn't eat much fish. My mom didn't like it and I always assumed, to my dad's frustration, that I didn't like it either. It wasn't until I was in college that I realized, fish is okay. My relationship with it is improving. Given it's health benefits, I have been making an effort to include more of it in our diet.

I am creeped out by the idea of fish eyes staring back at me when I cook, so for now I am sticking with fillets. Here are some tips and tricks for cooking with fish fillets that I've come across in my search for recipes.
  1. A fillet is a boneless or nearly boneless piece cut lengthwise from the sides of the fish. It may or may not have skin.
  2. When shopping for fillets, fresher is better. Look for vibrant flesh. If there is still skin on the fish, it should be shiny. Give it the smell test - it should not have a pungent or overly fishy smell. If there is any liquid on the flesh, it should be clear, not milky.
  3. Fish perishes quickly. Only store it in your fridge for a day or two. If properly sealed, and kept in a deep freeze, fish can keep in the freezer for up to six months. When thawing frozen fish, thawing it in milk helps keep the fish tasting fresh (don't ask me why).
  4. Sturdier/fattier fish (such as grouper, salmon and tuna) are better for grilling, as they practically baste themselves. Thinner cuts are great for frying or baking. Lean (such as cod, haddock, sole or halibut) fish can dry out at high temperatures, so a protective coating is a good idea when frying. 
  5. To remove skin from a fillet, make an incision near the tail, hold firmly and cut down at an angle with the knife. 
  6. Rinsing fish in cold water and lemon juice helps to maintain its color and enhance its flavor.
  7. Once you start cooking your fish, leave it be! Turn only once (fish less than 1/2 in thick do not require turning). This helps develop a nice crust on the fish.
  8. A general rule for cooking fish fillets, is to cook it 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.
  9. Fish can easily be overcooked. Remove fish from heat a couple of minutes before end of estimated cooking time as it will continue to cook after you have removed it.
  10. Many fish-eaters prefer tuna and salmon when it is still raw on the inside. This is not my cup of tea. The best way to check for doneness, is to use a thermometer. Cooked fish should have an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. You should remove the fish from the heat source when the internal temperature is around 140 degrees F, to avoid overcooking. Flesh should be opaque, firm, moist, and easily separate or flake. 
  11. Don't be afraid to experiment with different herbs, spices and flavored butters, but try not to overwhelm mild tasting fish. 
  12. Lastly, I always make "fish night" the night before garbage pick-up. That way all the packaging, skin, etc. doesn't sit around stinking up the kitchen or garage.

Coming soon: a simple way to prepare oven roasted cod!


1 comment:

  1. Great tips! I find that separating the skin from fillet is easier when the fish is half-frozen. I had not heard about defrosting in milk - interesting.


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