Do’s & Don’ts For Perfect Fish

This entry is filed under Editorial, Fish Recipes.

So fresh you could spank it!

So fresh you could spank it!

Buying Fresh Fish:

Always buy sustainable fish such as Atlantic cod or Pacific cod, Alaskan Pollock, and Cornish mackerel. Avoid plaice, tiger prawns and skate as they are threatened and declining species. Visit

Look for the freshest fish on the counter even if it means adapting your recipe to suit the fish.

Buy from a reputable source with fast turn over and where possible by a whole fish or have steaks or fillets cut to order, (cutting immediately exposes new surfaces to microbes and the air).

If you’re buying pre-cut fillets or steaks make sure the flesh is glossy and there are no brown edges which signify oxidation of oils.

Fresh fish smell of the sea and are firm to the touch. The eyes are clear, black, bright and convex, the gills are deep red and the skin glistens with a thin coating of slime.

  1. Eat fish the same day of purchase, or very soon after. Remove any plastic wrapping and rewrap in greaseproof or parchment and store in the coldest part of the fridge.
  2. Ice is the key to maintaining fresh fish. Keep fish on ice (preferably crushed) and it will last double the length of time than normal.

Cooking Fish: Flesh is done when it turns opaque; breaks into large, firm flakes; and pulls away easily from any bones.

Crispy Fish Skin: Add a few saffron strands, a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of olive oil and rub over the skin. The skin will be crisp and an appetizing gold colour.

Parcelled In Cling Film: This works brilliantly for shaping fish into a cylinder or doing something fancy like wrapping fish with spinach leaves etc. Roll tightly like a Christmas cracker, making sure both ends are securely twisted (it’s a knack but practice makes perfect) then steam over boiling water and voila!

How To Cook Perfect Fried Fish:
Lightly salt the skin as it draws out moisture and makes it crisp.
Pre-heat a cast iron pan or non-stick skillet, when it’s good and hot add enough oil to just cover the bottom.
Place the fish skin side down and cook at least 75% of the cooking time on this side.
Press the fish gently to maximise contact between pan and fish then gently turn over when it’s golden brown.
Lower the heat and continue cooking until the flesh is white and opaque.
Serve the fish skin side up so it has room to breath and remain crisp.

Fish Sauce: A cream based sauce benefits from a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar at the end of cooking.

Prepping Fish Skin: Lightly score the skin with a sharp knife before frying as it stops the skin from curling.

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