Preparing fish or seafood and you should have no bother at all. When you've done it once you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.
Preparing fish or seafood is that simple ( it must be if i can do it )
How to skin a fillet
Place the fillets on a board with the tail towards you, flesh side up.
Using a sharp, flat bladed – not serrated knife make a small nick backwards through the flesh but not through the skin.
This gives you something to grip.
Change the direction of the knife and keep both knife and skin flat on the board .
Work towards the top of the fillet using a saw-like motion.
The skin should come away in one piece.
To remove the bones from round white fish fillets simply cut the ‘V’ shaped piece containing the bones from the top of the fillet.
What to look for when buying fish or seafood
How to Open an Oyster
Cover the palm of your hand with a folded tea towel.
Place the cupped side of the oyster into your hand, with the flat side facing up.
Holding the oyster firmly with the towel insert the oyster knife into the hinge and lever upwards with a twisting motion.
Slide the blade along the underside of the shell to sever the muscle inside.
Use the knife to flip open the top shell, and then sever the muscle underneath which attaches the base of the oyster to the bottom shell.
How to prepare Mussels
Wash well in cold water and remove beard or bysuss thread.
Check to see if the mussels are alive by tapping any that gape open.
Discard if they don’t close when tapped.
Cooking and Lobsters
The most humane way of killing a lobster is to place it in the deep freeze for approx two hours before it is directly placed into a pot of boiling water.
Lobsters should be cooked in plenty of boiling salted water: approx 150g = 4½ litres water.
Timing of the cooking begins once the water returns to the boil after the lobster has been added.
Lobster Cooking Times
Up to 750 g – 15 minutes
Up to 1.25 kg – 20 minutes
Larger lobsters – 5 minutes extra boiling time for each 450 g
Judging Quality / Purchasing Tips
Use the following guidelines to help you judge the quality of live lobsters:
Active, leg movement or rapid response when touched
Should feel heavy in relation to size
All limbs attached
Clean, fresh, seaweed smell
Refrigerate fish as soon as possible after purchase.
Ideally, remove the fish from its wrapping and store it on crushed ice cubes on a plate in the fridge.
Cover loosely with foil.
Replace the ice as it melts.
Do not place ice directly on fillets or darnes of salmon or trout.
If the fish is packed in special foil wrapping by the fish retailer do not remove the fish from packaging, simply refrigerate as soon as possible.
Fresh fish in good condition and properly stored should last a day or two after purchase.
All fish can be successfully frozen.
Fresh white fish can be frozen for a maximum of 6 months.
Oil-rich fish is best if used within 3 months.
Remember to freeze fish as you intend to use it.
For example do not freeze a whole salmon if the intention is to use portions on an ongoing basis.
Do not freeze previously frozen fish.
Please do not ask your retailer to vacuum pack fresh fish, i.e. whole salmon for your convenience, as this is not safe practice.
Fish is a very versatile food and can be cooked in many different ways.
In most recipes a similar species can be substituted for another, for example you could use lemon sole instead of plaice.
Fish cooks quickly so take care not to overcook. When cooked, fish loses its translucent look and will flake easily.
A good rule of thumb is to allow 10 minutes per 2.5 cm of thickness when cooking fish.
So to grill a salmon darne that is 2.5 cm at the thickest part, simply grill for 5 minutes, turn and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Increase or reduce the cooking time as necessary depending on the thickness of a piece of fish.
Cooking Methods – the following are the main cooking methods used for fish.
Most kinds of fish can be cooked in this way.
Immerse fish in simmering, seasoned liquid like stock or milk and poach gently for 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
The liquid is ideal for use in sauces and soups.
When poaching smoked fish, place it in cold unsalted water and bring it to a steady simmer.
This liquid will be salty and may not be suitable for re-use.
Small whole fish or fillets are good cooked in this way.
Flavour can be added by using different cooking liquids but usually the fish is seasoned.
Place it in a steamer, cover it tightly and cook over simmering water for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish or the fillets.
If a steamer is not available fish can be steamed between two plates above a pan of boiling water.
Grilling is cooking under a radiant heat and is a fast and convenient method of cooking.
Suitable for fillets or small whole fish.
When grilling whole fish cut through thickest part of the fish to allow even cooking.
Lightly oil and season fish or fillets and, to avoid breaking, do not turn more than once.
This is cooking over a radiant heat - usually a charcoal or gas barbecue.
It is fast and popular during fine summer weather.
Oil-rich fish are suitable for barbecuing as the natural oils keep the flesh moist.
Baste whitefish often to keep it moist.
Protect the fish from strong heat and from breaking up by using foil or special wire holders.
All kinds of fish can be baked in the oven.
Fish should be covered to prevent drying, either with a lid, foil or greaseproof paper.
It may be baked with stuffing, on a bed of vegetables, in a pie or sauce.
This is an "all-in-one" method of cooking where the fish is cooked together with vegetables, either on the hob or in the oven.
Lightly sauté the selected vegetables. Add the fish, seasonings and liquid.
Cover and cook until fish is cooked through.
Frying is probably the most popular method of cooking fish.
The fish should be seasoned and lightly coated with flour or crumb before frying to protect it and seal in the flavour.
Use a mixture of oil and butter when frying and turn the fish only once during cooking, to avoid breaking up.
The fish should be seasoned and coated before frying, usually with a batter or an egg and breadcrumb mixture.
Use a suitable container and heat the oil to 190°C/375°F. Test the temperature before cooking fish.
Drain the fish after cooking on absorbent paper.
This is a very fast and popular method of cooking.
Use a wok or deep frying pan and a high cooking temperature.
Food should be cut into thin strips and prepared before cooking begins.
This is a very suitable method of cooking firm-fleshed fish.
Fish cooks perfectly in a microwave oven because of its high water content and loose texture.
Use a non-metallic dish and arrange the thickest part of fish towards the edge of the dish.
Fold tail pieces underneath to prevent uneven cooking. As cooking will continue when removed from the oven.
Allow the fish to stand for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Who said preparing fish or seafood was complicated?