Cooking Methods

Fish fall into several categories, each suiting particular cooking methods. The light white-fleshed fish, such as bream, flounder, whiting, john dory, mulloway and ling are all best suited to frying or gentle baking. The darker, oiler fish with a strong flavour, including kingfish, mullet, tuna, gem fish and tailor, are better grilled, poached or braised.

Fresh fish flesh is reasonably translucent, becoming opaque or whitish when cooked. At this stage the flesh will flake along the muscle and cooking fishrelease a clear juice. Once cooked the fish should be served immediately. remember, the flesh will continue to cook a little when removed from the heat, so always serve fish firm and juicy, not firm and dry.

The following cooking methods are suggestions only. It is up to the individual palate. Why not experience; you will discover that most fish can be cooked by any method. Just remember, it takes great chefs and even greater recipes to make something out of a second-rate fish. Really fresh fish only needs a simple recipe.

Frying

Frying fish can be carried out by either of two methods: panfrying, also known as shallow frying, and deep-frying, which is the style used in fish and chip shops. Both frying techniques are suited to most fish species. However, in panfrying, the fish only needs a light dusting of flour before being placed gently into the hot cooking agent. In the case of deep-frying, the fish needs to be coated in batter or breadcrumbs to benefit from the oil saturation.

Grilling

This is a method of cooking where the fish is either placed on a grill over a fire or placed under a griller. In the latter case, the heat source is above the food, and the heat is generally very severe. It is an ideal cooking method for people requiring a diet with no added fat. Alternatively, grilling can be done on a barbecue. Generally, the severe form of heat of the barbecue is ideal for all fish. Delicate-fleshed fish benefit from a little basting with butter or oil. Darker, fattier types of fish grill well without added fats, but a squeeze of lemon and some greater peppercorns will enhance the flavour.

When grilling fish, care must be taken not to overcook or dry out the fish and constant attention and basting with a little oil or butter will help. Leaving the skin on can also protect the flesh from drying out too quickly.

Baking

This is one of the simplest ways to cook a whole fish, particularly a large specimen. The fish should be buttered on the outside, laid on a baking tray with a little liquid in the bottom, and moist baked.

Poaching

Thi is not a commonly used cooking method but it is suited to delicate-fleshed fish. In poaching, the cooking liquid is generally water, with an onion, bay-leaf and clove added. The water should only just simmer. Poaching is a great way to cook a whole fish, which can be served hot or cold. Served with a sauce, it is ideal for lunch.

Steaming

This is the easiest way of cooking without the addition of any fats. The fish are laid out on a rack over water that must be boiled to maintain a constant temperature above 100degrees Celsius. Bamboo steamers are ideal or a colander sitting over a saucepan of water will do. A tight-fitting lid is required or enough aluminium foil to seal in the steam. This method of cooking is quite quick, and a fillet only takes a few minutes.

Braising

Braising is a cooking method generally done in a large pot or casserole dish with a lid, or a baking tray, which is later covered with foil. The fish should be placed in the casserole, on a bed of vegetables, and barely covered with fish stock or wine, covered with a lid, and slowly simmered in the oven or over a very gentle heat on a stove, or on the hot coals of an open fire. In the over, most fish will require slow cooking for at least 1 hour. This method of cooking is best for fish that will improve with the addition of the subtle flavours of vegetables and wine.

Shakespeare Navigator Spinning Combo

Sharespeare Navigator Spinning Combo

The bed of vegetables is often referred to as a mirepoix, and comprises coarsely chopped vegetables and herbs cooked in butter. Shark and nannygai lend themselves to braised dishes with tomato and fennel. Large mulloway and eel can also be braised.

Smoking

There are two forms of smoking: hot smoke and cold smoke. Recent research has shown that cold smoking can form perfect conditions for the incubation of harmful bacteria. Hot smoking, however, is safe. This method was first employed to preserve fish, but the flavours imparted by the wood and smoke make fish cooked this way worth trying.

Marinating

This is another form of preserving fish, but is also a way of imparting additional flavours to the flesh of what might normally be a fairly bland-tasting fish. You can use either a liquid marinade (a mixture of oil, acid – vinegar, wine or citrus juice – and spices), in which the fish will soak for several hours prior to cooking, or a dry marinade, made up of salts, sugar and spices. The dry marinade mix is sprinkled heavily over the fish flesh, which needs to be trend regularly over a period of 48 hours. The result will be a fish ready for eating, which has required no cooking. The Cajun style of marinating uses chilli, cumin and coriander, before cooking the fish over a very high heat. The “blackened” result is attractive and particularly flavoursome.

Soups, stocks, patties and pies

Good stock is made from good bones and fish offcuts, which must always be fresh. Pies and patties can be made from fresh uncooked fish pieces or from cooked leftovers. By adding herbs and spices, and eggs and flour, you can make crumbed patties or pastry-topped pies, all great hot or cold for picnics or that next fishing trip.

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Cuts for Cooking

April 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Fishing for women

The size of the fish and the size of your cooking utensils will determine the method of preparing the fish. Generally, big fish can b cut into steaks and smaller fish are better suited to filleting. All fish can be cooked whole, but the size of the oven and pan will limit your options.

Whole fish

Fish cooked whole are best if medium-sized ranging up to about 3kg. Whole fish are easy to cook, but they must be gutted and cleaned. The skin and scaled can be retained during cooking; afterwards the skin will peel off, exposing the lovely moist flesh.

cuts for cookingLeaving the head on during cooking is optional. The head does not improve the cooking. It is merely left on for appearance. Some people like the look of the whole fish overs savour the little pockets of flesh around the eyes. One thing to remember is that if the head islet on after killing, it will speed up the process of natural decomposition. If the head is removed, it is worth keeping to add to the other bones to make a wonderful fish stock, ideal for soups and sauces to complement fish dishes.

Fish steaks or cutlets

Fish steaks or cutlets are best cut from larger fish of 3 to 10kg in size. Use a knife with a serrated edge. Lay the fish on its side on a bench and start at the tail end. Cut off the tail by using a sawing action. Work your way along the fish, cutting steaks of about 30mm thick. Cut thicker steaks at the tail end and thinner portions where the body gets larger. The fish most commonly cut into steaks include tuna, snapper, salmon and tailor.

Fish fillets

Smaller fish are better filleted. Some fillets like john dory and silver dory will keep their shape better. if cooked with the skin on. However, a fish such as flathead is better with the skin removed. Fish such as bream, dory, whiting, trout and flathead are ideal for filleting. Bream is the easiest fish to fillet.

The fish must be gutted and cleaned before filleting, but scaling and skinning is easiest after the filleting process.

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Hook to Cook

April 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Fishing for women

The preparation stage is never a enjoyable as the act of fishing itself. However, the correct preparation will go some way towards making the eating as enjoyable as the sport. In hook to cook the three most important steps are killing, cleaning and storing.

A fresh fish is one that has been caught, landed and killed quickly and without stress. It has been bled and gutted in clean water using a clean knife. Straight after the cleaning it has been laid in a slurry of ice and salt water in an esky or similar and looked before the ice melts.

This is truly an experience worth trying because there’s nothing quite like it, and once you have experienced the flavour, no other fish will taste the same.

Fish Flesh

In cooking, the flesh is the part of the fish in which we are obviously most interested. In some fish, such as john dory, the flesh accounts for only 25% of the whole fish. However, the fish carcass should not be wasted. Heads and bones, for instance, can be used to make fish stocks and soups.

fish on plateFish flesh is easily digested and is generally delicate in texture. It should never be overcooked or dried out. The muscles are fragile when heated. It is a nutritious food, rich in protein and vitamins, low in carbohydrate and cholesterol.

Fish species vary in flavour, and generally the white-fleshed fish have milder flavours, which the darker-fleshed fish are richer in taste and require more technique in preparation and cooking.

Killing your fish

There has been much research in this area, and yet nobody is sure whether fish suffer pain as we do. However, it is known that fish do experience stress, which in turn releases lactic acid to the blood supply and consequently has a detrimental effect on texture and taste. Apart from the undesirable affect on table quality, the fish does not deserve to suffer, and it is to everyone’s advantage to kill quickly.

Generally, one quick blow to the top of the head with a blunt instrument will kill the fish outright. If you can’t bring yourself to do this, cut its throat and bleed it, or throw it back while it is still alive. If you plan to return the fish to the water, handle it as little as possible because the slime coating on the fish protects it from exposure to various diseases.

Cleaning your fish

All fish should be bled immediately after they have been killed, and then gutted and washed. Scaling and skinning the fish can be safely left util you are ready to prepare the fish for cooking. The skin and scales help extend the life of the flesh, and skin can be removed later in one swift action with a knife.

Wild River Tackle Tek Compact Backpack

Wild River Tackle Tek Compact Backpack

Bleeding

To bleed most fish, cut the throat below the gills and bend the head back, which in turn breaks the spine.

Gutting

To remove the gut, lay the fish on its side, insert the point of the knife into the vent and slit the stomach open, turning the knife towards the centre of the gills. Using a knife, a spoon, or your hand, forcefully pull out everything that is inside. Remove any blood vessels along the inside of the backbone and cut out any other red meat, gills, etc.

Washing

once gutted, the flesh of the fish is exposed to attack by bacteria and it is very important to wash the fish thoroughly in clean water. The worst place for fish cleaning is on or around slipways and loading ramps.

If you leave cleaning and gutting your fish until returning to land, there is a chance that the gases emitted from the gut will begin to spoil and taint the flesh. It is for this reason that the cleaning and gutting is best done as soon as possible after killing your fish.

Storing your fish

Fish is best consumed as soon as possible after being caught. Fresh fish should never be put in a bag, as this speeds up the decaying process. Leave the scales and skin on and lay the fish flay on a slurry of ice and salt water.

If freezing your fish, they can be put into plastic bags prior to freezing. Remember, some fish species do not freeze well. Trivially, a delicious fish fresh, is almost inedible after freezing. Some fish that do freeze well: trout, deepwater fish, and firm white-fleshed fish such as snapper.

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