From Fearful to Fearless: How to Confidently Cook Fish Posted on 27 Jul 00:01
Fishpeople wants to help every home cook learn to Fear No Fish, so we teamed up with Diane Morgan, author of Salmon: Everything You Need to Know + 45 Recipes, to show you just how easy it can be to prepare. Read below for the salmon expert's prep tips, her recipe for Green Curry Braised Salmon with Snow Peas, and a giveaway to win free Fishpeople Seafood products and the cookbook! And make sure to head over to Fear No Fish to learn more about making seafood easy.
There are so many fabulous ways to cook fish—you can cook it on the stovetop by poaching, braising, pan-searing, stir-frying, pan-grilling, and even smoking fish in a wok or stovetop smoker. In the oven, fish can be slow-roasted, high-heat-roasted, and broiled. On the grill, fish can be planked, wrapped in cedar sheets, skewered, place in a grill basket, wrapped in banana leaves, seared on a plancha, or even arranged on a bed of fresh herbs to help keep the fish from sticking to the grill grates.
For the fearful fish cook wanting to gain confidence and mastery there are two components involved—tools and techniques.
First, let’s discuss tools. Trust me on this one—you don’t need an expensive collection of pots, pans, and gadgets in your kitchen for cooking fish. You don’t even need an expensive grill. In fact, for just twelve dollars you can exponentially increase the likelihood that your fish will be cooked to near perfection. Buy an instant-read thermometer and take the internal temperature of the fish in order to take the guesswork out of gauging when fish is moist, flaky, and tender.
Just like a good juicy steak cooked medium rare, salmon should be cooked medium rare, and that means cooking it to about 125ºF, and not above 130ºF. The FDA recommends cooking all seafood to 145ºF. (In my opinion, and in the opinion of most chefs I know, cooking fish to the temperature recommended by the FDA ruins its texture and moistness.) That higher temperature is required to pasteurize salmonella. However, salmonella bacteria are not a concern when consuming seafood; though certain parasites are. Do know, the parasites will be killed if fresh fish is cooked to at least 118ºF, or if the fish has been commercially frozen prior to cooking.
Now, let’s focus on techniques. For fish cookery, some techniques are easier to master than others. The easiest technique is slow roasting fish in the oven. Rubbing a fillet with olive oil, seasoning it with sea salt and pepper, and then roasting it on a rimmed baking sheet in a 300ºF oven until the internal temperature is 125ºF results in perfect fish every time. No recipe needed! Poaching or braising fish are two other techniques that guarantee success. See my reader-favorite recipe for Green Curry Braised Salmon with Snow Peas.
Since grilling fish is a popular method, a few tips are in order to guarantee success. My rule is to never let the flesh of the fish touch the grill grates. The flesh is tender and it can stick to the grill grate and then tear when you try to turn over a fillet. Instead of placing fish directly on the grate, use planks, cedar sheets, skewers, banana leaves, a fish-shaped grill basket, a plancha, and even a bed of fresh herbs to help keep the fish from sticking. Cedar or alder planks infuse fish with a subtle and appealing wood-smoked flavor. The same is true for cedar sheets, plus opening a slightly charred, paper-thin wood sheet to reveal a fish fillet is spectacular. Skewers allow you to maneuver small chunks of fish or whole shellfish easily, and grilling fish on a bed of sturdy herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, imparts a lovely aroma and provides a barrier between the flesh and the grill grate.
With a thermometer in hand, a temperature to aim for, and simple techniques to try, the fearful become confident, mastering fish cookery with each new recipe they try. Give these tips a try with my recipe for Green Curry Braised Salmon with Snow Peas.
Want to win a Fishpeople Seafood prize pack?!
Enter the giveaway below and you could win a copy of Diane Morgan's book, Salmon: Everything You Need to Know + yummy Fishpeople products!