cooking tips
Basic Tips for Cooking Fish
Selecting Seafood:
Fresh Fish
Eyes should be bright, clear and bulging. Gills should be bright red and free of slime. Flesh
should be firm and elastic. Skin should be iridescent. Fish should smell fresh and mild.
Frozen Fish
Flesh should be solid and no discoloring. The wrapping should be moisture and vapor proof.
There should be little or no odor.
Cooking Seafood
Cook by dry heat by placing fish on a greased baking dish. Keep fish moist and flavorful with
seasoned oil, sauce or any condiment of your choice while baking. Fillets and steaks adapt
easily to many recipes that require baking. Bake in a moderated oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheit,
until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Cooking time varies according to the
thickness of the fish.
Cook by direct, intense heat. Choose pan dressed fish (whole fish with the scales, entrails
and usually the head, tail and fins removed), fillets or steaks. Place the fish in a single layer on a
well greases broiler pan. Baste well with oil or basting sauce before and during cooking process.
The surface of the fish should be four to six inches from the source of heat. Cooking time is
usually eight to ten minutes. Turn thicker pieces such as pan-dressed fish, halfway through
cooking time and baste.
Charcoal Broiling
Cook over hot briquettes in charcoal, electric or gas grill, select pan-dressed fish, fillets or
steaks. Thick cuts are preferable. A well-greased, long handle hinged wire grill is recommended
for ease in turning. Baste the fish with sauce before and during broiling. Broil approximately four
to six inches from moderately hot briquettes for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of
the fish. Fish is done when it flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Cook by boiling. Bring water and salt (1 quart water to 2 tablespoon salt) to a boil in a large
pot. Add seafood, return to a boil; reduce heat, maintaining a slow boil. Shrimp is done in two to
four minutes, rock shrimp in 35 to 40 seconds, lobster and crab in 12 to 15 minutes, and fish in
8 to 10 minutes. Shellfish and fish are boiled when they are to be served with a sauce or flaked
and combined with other ingredients.
Cook in a simmering liquid, place fish in a single layer in a wide, shallow pan or fry pan. Barely
cover with liquid. The liquid for poaching fish may be lightly salted water, water seasoned with
herbs and spices, milk or a mixture of white wine and water. Simmer fish for five to eight
minutes or until it flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Cook by steam generated from boiling water, use a deep pan with a tight cover. If a steam
cooker is not available, anything that prevents the fish from touching the water will serve as a
steaming rack. The water may be plain or seasoned with various spices. Bring water to a rapid
boil. Place fish on well-greased rack. Cover the pan tightly and steam for eight to ten minutes.
Deep Fat Frying
Cook in deep fat or oil; do not fill the fryer more than half full of oil. Allow room for fish and
bubbling oil. Place breaded or batter dipped fish, one layer at a time, in the fry basket so the
pieces do not touch. Fry in deep oil, 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, until fish is brown and
flakes easily when tested with a fork. Before frying additional fish, be sure the oil returns to the
correct temperature.
Pan Frying
Cook in a small amount of hot oil, heat about 1/8 inch of oil in the bottom of a heavy fry pan.
Place breaded fish in a single layer in the hot oil. Do not overload the pan. Fry fish at a
moderate temperature until lightly browned on one side, then turn and cook on the other side
until brown.
Oven Frying
Cook by dry heat in an extremely hot oven, dip fish in salted milk and coat with breading
mixture of your choice. Place fish in shallow, well-greased baking pan. Pour melted fat or oil
over fish and bake in extremely hot oven, 500 degree Fahrenheit, until fish flakes easily when
tested with a fork. Fish cooked by this method does not require basting and cooking time is
Cook with a covered charcoal, electric or gas grill, place fish on the grill, skin side down and
baste frequently during cooking. The smoky flavor is obtained by adding water soaked wood
chips to briquettes which produce smoke and lower the temperature. Cooking time varies with
the weather, intensity of heat, amount of moisture in chips, type of grill and distance of fish from
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