Are you searching for recipes to liven up your Lenten menu? Do you want to go beyond the basic steamed or poached salmon fillets, batter fried fish, or tuna burgers? Keep reading to find flavorful and exciting recipes to add to your repertoire of fish dishes.
Fish Preparation and Cooking Tips:
Deboning and Cleaning
If you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to clean or debone your fish, ask your fishmonger for help! He can clean and debone your fish for you or teach you how to do it. To buy fish at its freshest, select a whole fish and then have your fishmonger clean and section it. When you are choosing a fish: the eye should appear clear, not cloudy; gills should be a deep red; the skin of your fish should be shiny; flesh should feel firm to the touch and have an elastic quality; and it should smell like the ocean, not fishy.
Handle Fish Safely
Be sure that you are aware of how to properly handle and fully cook the type of fish you select. If you have questions or feel unsure, ask your fishmonger for advice. He should be able to give you tips on the proper handling and preparation of any type of seafood he sells.
Timing is everything when selecting and handling your fish. Buy it as close to the day you are going to use it as possible. Choose fish that are from your local area to be sure that they have not been frozen during shipping. While you are shopping, select your fish when you are almost finished so that it stays cold.
Once you get your fish home, be sure to keep it chilled until you are ready to cook it. Your fish will only stay fresh for up to 7 days. It should be stored on ice in the refrigerator.
If you will be freezing your fish for using in the future, vacuum seal, ice glaze, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. To ice glaze your fish, dip it in water and then lay it on a sheet tray and place it in the freezer. After the water has frozen, repeat this process multiple times until you have a ¼-inch thick layer of ice on your fish. Then, place your fish in a plastic storage bag and set it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. When you are ready to prepare your fish, thaw it in the refrigerator or in cold water.
Properly Seared Fish
If your recipe calls for your fish to be seared, the process is simple and easy. Add your fish to oil or melted butter in a hot pan. Leave it alone until ? of the first side has cooked. Flip it. You will only flip your fish once. Allow your fish to cook completely, then remove it from the pan. To keep your seared fish crispy, place any sauce you will be serving with it underneath the filet.
Basic Fish Stock
Does your recipe call for a basic fish stock? Add fish bones and heads that have been rinsed to hot oil in a stockpot. Do not include gills. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove the bones and heads from the pan. Add root vegetables and herbs to the stockpot. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the bones and heads back into the stockpot and cover them with water. Bring the stock to a boil and then lower the heat and reduce it to a simmer. Allow the stock to simmer for one hour. After an hour, strain, taste, and season the stock with salt and pepper.