9 Mistakes to Stay Away When Cooking Fish
Not everyone is a fish fan. It is such regret because fish provides an excellent source of protein and low fat. Do not skip cooking fish for your family members: There are so many health benefits they can get from eating fish even just once or twice a week.
The fish cooking technique is not very difficult once you get the hang of it. For a start, try to avoid the following mistakes people often make with cooking fish.
1. You Can’t Tell the Difference Between Lean Fish and Fat Fish
It is important to know the type of fish you are going to cook is lean fish or fat fish. By knowing the difference between them, you can choose the right source of protein you need and also know how to cook each type properly.
Bluefish, bass, catfish and perch are some examples of lean fish – they are low in fat so they can become dry very easily during cooking. Be aware of overcooking these fishes. With low amount of oil content, they can be kept frozen for a long time,
On the other hand, fat fish like sardines, salmon and anchovies have high-fat content. You probably do not believe it but they are actually good for the diet.
2. Don’t pay enough attention to freshness
Many people are afraid of processing fresh fish so they just use frozen fish instead. However, fresh fish tastes the best. For a great fish dish, freshness is truly the key.
Even with people who do buy fresh fish, not all actually knows how to select good quality catch. Here are some pointers for reference:
– Smell it: skip any fish with sour, fishy smell. Pick those with fresh, mild odor instead,
– The gills just below the head should be a rich red
– The eyes should be bright and cleat
– The flesh should be firm and translucent;
– The skin is not broken and there is no obvious damage in sight
Make sure you buy fresh fish from reputable fishmongers.
3. You Overcook Fish
Overcooking is probably the biggest mistake people often make with fish. When you overcook your fish, it becomes very dry and you miss the chance to enjoy the fish’s natural flavor. You simply can’t undo it when you fish overcooked: always check for doneness about 2 minutes for your estimated time is over.
It is about timing: pay attention when the fish flesh starts turning to white (but still a little bit translucent on the middle) and remains moist and firm at the same time, Take it off; remember that it will continue to cook for several minutes after that with the heat trapped inside it. This applies for almost any fish.
A general rule is to cook fish about 10 minutes per inch for 5 minutes on each side (for thin pieces, less than ½ inch in thickness for example, you don’t really need to turn them over). The rule can be flexible: you may need twice as much time if you cook frozen fish or consider adding about 5 more minutes when you cook fish in a sauce.
For shrimp, you know it is overcooked when it is twisted into an O-shape. Cooking for about a minute and a half on each side is advised.
4. You Do not Thaw Your Frozen Fish Properly
If you have a habit of thawing your fish with hot water or even with water at room temperature, scratch it. By doing so, you easily allow bacteria to grow.
If you need to use your fish soon, put it in a sealed bag first and then place in a bowl of very cold water. Otherwise, you can just thaw fish in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
5. You Touch the Fish too Much While Cooking
We get it: you want to check the doneness or you want to see if the fish is cooked properly for an important family event. Still, flipping it too much (especially with tongs) or poking the skin can make the skin fall apart and get stick to the pan.
6. Your Grill or Stove is not Hot Enough for Frying or Grilling Fish
It is simple: then your grill or stove is not as searing hot as it should be, your fish gets sticky to the cooking surface. You do not want to leave a part of your fish behind on the stove, do you?
Before cooking, you need to preheat the pan or stove first. Pat the fish dry with a paper tower too. Remember: it is easy for you to flip the fish when the cooking surface is very hot. If you are afraid of burning, a combination of oil and butter can help.
7. You Leave the Skin Before Cooking
Skin can be tastier than you think, especially if you cook salmon (poaching filet is an exception). It is a safety layer between the fish flesh and the hot cooking surface.
Start cooking the fish upside down first, let it become crispy, and then you can peel off the skin later.
8. You Season the Fish too Soon Before Cooking
While seasoning is important, if you do it too soon before you cook, it will cause moisture to draw out of the fish flesh, leaving you with drier or soggier fish than you expect. You should season the fish just before you start cooking it with whatever method you choose.
9. You Forget Removing the Bones
No matter how delicious your fish dish is, it can leave a bad impression on your guest if they eat a mouthful of bones. You can either let these bones removed by the fish mongers or do it yourself.
Do not just yank out the pin bones or you can rip up the fish flesh (salmon, for example).
10. You Throw out All the Leftover Fish
It is such a waste if you just throw the leftover away. Be creative: you can do it for a salad or sandwich
Hint: there are people who insist that cold, cooked salmon can taste even better than freshly cooked salmon.