Many a cook has discovered that fish can overcook in no time. If there's one piece of advice for cooks who want to turn out peerless fish, it's this: Once it's on the grill or in the pan, leave it alone! Leaving fish undisturbed for two to four minutes helps the protein develop a nice crust. This crust makes it easy to turn the fish over.
Beyond this advice, there can be as many ways to cook fish as there are, well, fish in the sea.
For grilling, choose sturdy fish with plenty of fat, such as salmon, tuna, grouper, shark and swordfish. Clean the grill well and give it a light coating of oil before placing the fish on it. Lighter fish can be grilled in a basket or simply on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil placed over the grill. However, don't cover fish on the grill; the delicate flesh takes up too much smoke and becomes over-seasoned and sometimes dry.
A bamboo steamer is ideal for steaming fish, particularly for Asian recipes. To steam fish this way, put the stock or water into a large saucepan along with spices or herbs. Bring the liquid to simmer, not boil, because boiling liquid can overcook fish in mere seconds. Place the steamer over simmering water and keep a close eye on it. It's done when it flakes easily.
A lot of cooks might faint at the thought of cooking fish in a microwave oven, because the chances of overcooking fish are greater. However, a microwave can cook fish adequately if the cook adjusts for the nature of this cooking method. For starters, be sure to rotate the fish halfway through the recipe timing to assure even cooking. With filets of uneven thickness, fold the thinner part under so that the filet becomes closer to even thickness throughout. Also don't forget about standing time, which is important for microwave cooking. Always let fish stand on a cool, flat surface so that the cooking finishes correctly.
Broiling is one of the most popular ways to cook fish, because it gives a nice crust and seems to seal in seasonings, much like toasting spices enhances the flavor of Indian cuisine. To broil fish correctly, preheat the broiler, season the fish well, and position the pan four to six inches from the broiler. Then watch it carefully! Don't walk away to dress the salad or anything else, because you'll quickly have burned fish. Turn thick fillets of one inch or more once halfway through cooking; thin fillets don't need turning.
If you don't have much time consider getting a crock pot to make your dishes as crock pot recipes are really delicious and so easy to make, not to mention the time saving factors.
Baking and frying are two of the favorite ways to cook fish. Baking is the easiest; simply season as desired and follow instructions from any cookbook. Frying takes a little more skill, but when done properly, fried fish is absolutely heavenly. Farm-raised catfish is especially good when fried.
To fry fish properly, batter the fish with seasoned flour or cornmeal, and then gently lower it into oil at 375 degrees F. Don't guess; use a thermometer or a deep-fat fryer to ensure the proper temperature. If frying in a skillet, cook each side for about four minutes, turning gently just once. In a deep fryer, lower the fish gently into the oil and let cook according to the fryer instructions.
Anyway it's cooked; well-prepared fish makes for a truly splendid meal.
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