Seafood Tips: A Beginner’s Guide in Preparing Seafood and Cooking Fish
⇒ The W’s and How of Seafood Buying
There are a lot of market and stores selling seafood nowadays. However, there may be a problem when it comes to their quality. Some of this seafood on display may be very old. To make sure of what you buy, you must only seafood from sources which are known to be selling quality products.
Once you buy the seafood, keep the product frozen. Be sure to make it a point to tell your grocer to wrap the seafood to make it cold. However, be ready for an unpleasant smell while driving home with the fish. Fishes and other seafood generally have a strong odor and it’s up for you to endure them or else you won’t be cooking seafood.
In buying a fish, you must consider these tips:
- It must have a surface that shines with tightly sticking scales.
- The color of the gills matter. It must be pink or a strong red
- It must also be slime less, and not containing mucus.
- It must also be clean as shown by having a shiny belly and having no bulging fishbone.
- As mentioned earlier, sea-breeze smell.
⇒ Home-Stocking Your Seafood
Make it a point to stock your seafood in fridges or refrigerators. The temperature should be 32 to 38 degrees Farenheit. It may last for three to ten months in cases of long time preservations. Also inspect your containers so that there will be no leaks present.
Do not store oysters or clams not removed in from their shells in shutted vessels. The vessel must have an opening and it must be refrigerated for 5 days. After 5 days, it will naturally open after tapping it. If it will not open upon tapping then it is dead and should be thrown away already. It would not hurt to ask your supplier questions regarding stocking seafood, so ask.
⇒ Home Preparations
You must defrost seafood in the refrigerator. Defrosting it in a different temperature may affect its quality. Same thing must be done in cases of marinating. Marinate seafood in the refrigerator. To defrost it so that it will be used immediately, use running water or use microwave. Keep seafood products away from other food products as it may affect taste upon cooking.
Make it a point to keep your hands clean by washing them when handling raw seafood. Do this before and after you handle it. Keep the seafood juices away from utensils and other food as it may give an unpleasant smell. In line with this, wash the containers that were used for it also.
⇒ Fish Cooking Tips
10 minutes is the internationally accepted time for cooking a fish specifically for broiling. The temperature used for such is 400 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Every five minutes, turn the fish to evenly cook it. However, fishes that are only about ½ thick do not require turning. If it is sauced or in foil, add 5 minutes for a better result. If it has been frozen, extend the cooking time to 20 minutes. The cooking time for frozen fish should be doubled. A fish is cooked if it is not transparent and the flesh expands and changes its color. Another indication of a cooked fish is having big flakes.
Time your cooking so that you will have a better result when you’re done cooking the fish. Usually, people would suggest that the cooking time be extend to 2 minutes for the fish to be warm and crispy.
For fishes that are about 1-inch thick, it must be directly placed 2-4 inches away from the heat in oven or stove that will be used to cook. For fishes that are thicker than 1 inch, it must be placed 5 to 6 inches away.
If a fish has low fat content like tilapia, it should be saturated when cooking by using a dry heat method. In other words, you may only bake or broil it.
This is applicable for either pan-frying or deep-frying. There is not specific time required for frying fish; the thickness of a fish will determine its cooking time.
For deep frying, you have to place fish in one layer so that it will be easily moved and will not stick to other fishes being cooked. Temperature is also under your discretion but it should be in the higher temperatures. Wait for its color to be brownish gold before removing.
A fish is grilled best over a moderate hotness of fire in a charcoal or an electric griller. You may also oil the surface of the cooking pan as it may help in producing good results. Always watch out for the charcoal when cooking. They may easily turn white and lose heat. Make it a point to prepare extra charcoal so that your grilling wont be disrupted. Because sometimes, when your charcoal lose heat, it may cook fish in an uneven manner.
→ Find out the newest recipe we have Experience Western Food: Avocado Chicken Parmigiana here