Fish!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by schmoozer, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. schmoozer

    schmoozer

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    26
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    For a variety of reasons, I'll be eating a lot more fish and cutting back on red meat and some dairy products.  Although I've cooked a fair amount of fish in my day, a lot of it has been very simple, like poaching salmon or baking and grilling.  This was fine as I didn't eat fish often and my limited cooking methods were adequate.  Now I'd like to get some more exciting ideas for cooking fish and sea food, but at the same time I'd like to keep the cooking methods low in saturated fat. Using olive oil and other flavored oils is fine, and calories are not an issue.

    Learning more about what herbs go best with what fish would be helpful. And recommendations for fish cookbooks would be appreciated.
     
  2. mgchef

    mgchef

    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I just got one called Fish without a doubt by Rick Moonen. He's really good and there's lots of recipes from soups, to seviches, to shellfish etc.
     
  3. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

    Messages:
    2,260
    Likes Received:
    14
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I love fish, and at the risk of sounding like a hillbilly (which I am), I'll say fish is one of the few foods that cooks nicely in a microwave. I wouldn't use this recipe for fresh ahi tuna, but I would for frozen snapper, tilapia or other everyday fish.

    I put some raw or frozen fish, cut up into pieces no more than an inch cube, with some Mexican fresh salsa (chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and chiles, like what's served with tortilla chips for an appetizer), add salt and spices, mix, microwave covered 'til done, stirring once or twice. For the spices I use an Indian or Pakistani fish masala mix. Lime juice is really good if the salsa didn't already have it. You can get more elaborate on the dish (but why, since it's microwaved). It's an easy, tasty, low fat dish that makes good use of common fish. I eat it with rice but it is really good by itself.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  4. schmoozer

    schmoozer

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    26
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Thanks for the idea.  I do something similar with ther frozen cod I get from TJ's using canned, chopped tomatoes with green chiles.  I do it on the stove top though.  Never thought to make a salsa fresca though.  Good idea, and perfect for my needs.

    Hmmm ... I could also make ceviche, which I've not made in years.  Double thanks for the reminder.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  5. nichole

    nichole

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Restaurant Manager
    i like simple ways of cooking so i usually just fry in canola oil or i steam my fish.  i usually just sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the fish as well as a healthy coating of japanese soy sauce.  i then cover that with aluminum foil and steam it for at least 30 minutes and voila... dinner is served!
     
  6. web monkey

    web monkey

    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Other
    You might want to try sushi and sashimi. I'm much happier with raw or nearly raw fish than I am with most cooked fish.

    However I do freeze it first. The USDA recommends 7 days at -4°F to kill any parasites. What I actually do is fillet, portion and vacuum pack the pieces, then bury them in crushed dry ice until they're rock-hard, then toss them in the freezer for a week.

    With just a few exceptions, I've never had fish that tasted better cooked than it did when raw.

    If you want to try it, my rice recipe is here. The hardest part will be finding a supplier for extremely fresh fish. I had used sushifoods.com, but the $200 FexEx bills for shipping fish across the country apparently put them out of business. Now I use Wegmans Groceries, and ask the fish guy what he recommends, and when it's coming in, then I just show up with a picnic cooler and pick it up along with some crushed ice for the trip home.

    Terry
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  7. skatz85

    skatz85

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    try en poppiotte(sp?) or fish in a bag. nice and healthy and retains most of nutrions. simple, just get some vegis onions, peppers or greean beans and some lemon and and garlic and butter or oil if u want, fold the edges and cook it.  we had this as a special, sold pretty well
     
  8. schmoozer

    schmoozer

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    26
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  9. web monkey

    web monkey

    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Other
    Cool! You're very lucky!.

    I had a "sushi dry spell" for about a year, while I tried to locate a good fish supplier after sushifoods closed.

    Terry
     
  10. schmoozer

    schmoozer

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    26
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I can't imagine getting fish - or most foods - mail order.  I want to see the fish I buy, and talk directly with the fish monger to learn what's freshest and best on any given day.  Maybe even have it trimmed to my preference.
     
  11. deltadude

    deltadude

    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Depending on the fish and the cut, fresh or frozen, and what you will be serving with your fish, will determine cooking methods, sauces, etc.

    I prefer cooking fresh fish, I leave the frozen Tilapia to the wife, same for frozen halibut.  Cooking fresh fish I like it simple and a little seasoning and quick marinades go a long way.  I used to cook and eat a lot of fresh fish when we lived in So.Calif then I had my own ocean boat and for 5 months of the year basically fished most Saturdays.  Sunday was bbq fish day, and we usually had fish 3 or 4 times a week, grilled, broiled, baked, etc.  The fish were salt water bass, yellowtail jacks, yellowfin & albacore tuna, rock cod, some halibut.  Something simple like 20-30 minutes in Italian dressing and then on the bbq grill is awesome for yellowtail or tuna.  Bass can be fried or baked sealed in foil with some lemon & onion slices, some herbs and a bit of seasoning, when finished you can thicken the broth and make a great serving sauce.  Cod is excellent battered and fried served with lemon and tartar sauce.   Keeping it simple generally doesn't over power or mask the wonderful fish flavor. 

    Thought i would reply and encourage to eat fresh, and keep it simple
     
  12. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    299
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I think you could use the fish as a protein substitute in a lot of dishes, which opens up many more opportunities than simply "fish cooked another way". You could use a dry rub and grill a nice flaky fish to provide the filling for fish tacos, salmon can be blended down and then made into patties to saute in olive oil. If you haven't smoked fish, you should try it, imparts a brand new flavor and oily fish (salmon, mackeral, kingfish) make great smoked fish dip to be spread on crackers or crostini.
     
  13. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

    Messages:
    2,260
    Likes Received:
    14
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I just cooked some frozen pollock, with "salsa" and Pakistani curry spices, served on basmati rice. Once again it's so good. Yum.
     
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,345
    Likes Received:
    582
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    To me fish is not one of those things you can mess around with too much - the simpler the better so I've stuck to simple grilling, pan sauteeing, and broiling and then serving with simple veggies.  My latest thing is to cook it simply with salt and pepper and then top with any myriad of fresh salsas, red pepper salsa being my favorite.

    Here's a classic layered stew I make once in a while.  You can use any fish you like but I like white flaky fish, bass, fresh cod or halibut work great.

    - 3 potatoes quartered

    - 1 onion sliced

    - 2 cloves garlic sliced

    - 2 tomatoes diced or a tin of diced tomatoes

    - olive oil

    - parsley

    - 1 bunch dandelion greens

    - salt/pepper

    1. Sweat the onion and garlic in a generous amount of olive oil then stir in the tomatoes and potatoes and season.

    2. Add a half cup of water, cover, and let it simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender.

    3. Chop the dandelions coarsley and stir in the stems along with the parsley.  Let them get tender.

    4. Drop the rest of the dandelions on top and don't stir.  Let them wilt.  When they've wilted down a bit add the fish fillets (seasoned first).  Cover and let the fish cook through.

    5. Serve the fish accompanied by the wilted greens, potatoes, and lovely sauce.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  15. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    183
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    For a thick fillet of just about anything, there's an easy system. Preheat your oven to 550 (or as high as it goes). While it heats, pat the fish dry with paper towels. Start heating a skillet over high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then cut in portions if desired. Glaze the hot pan with just a little oil and place the fish in it, skin-side down, and press gently in the center for a few seconds to keep it from curling too much. Sear until golden and crusted, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the fish gently and put the pan in the oven. Cook for about 3 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness and the type of fish -- test by inserting a metal skewer in the center, then touching the tip of the skewer just under your lip, and if it feels definitely warm the fish is done. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

    Here's another method that's arguably better in flavor but trickier technically. Salt the fish all over reasonably generously, and let sit 20-30 minutes, then rinse and pat very dry. If using a whole fish, rub the fins, tail, and head very well with more salt, and don't rinse that off. Place a strong wire cooling rack, the flatter the better, in or across the bottom of a broiling tray. Place this under the broiler, about 3-4 inches from the flame, and heat for several minutes (it should be blazing hot -- you should test this in advance to be sure your rack is sufficiently sturdy for the method). Pour a high-heat oil into a little bowl, fold a paper towel and dunk this in, and then use tongs or chopsticks to quickly wipe the hot rack. Put the rack back under heat about 30 seconds to heat the oil. Put the fish on the rack and cook about 3 minutes per side, then serve at once with lemon. You will need to experiment with the distance from the broiler heat element: you want the fish done perfectly inside (i.e. hot and juicy) just when the outside surface becomes golden brown and crunchy. If you do this with a whole fish, having salted the head, tail, and fins, those parts will turn white with a salt crust (rather than burning) and everything else should be beautifully golden.

    Basic rule with fish, if it's of good quality: cook it hot, cook it quick, and make sure the center is just barely done. What "done" means depends on your taste and the fish, of course: the various kinds of tuna are done when basically raw inside, but haddock and other white fish are best just hot and very moist.

    Suggested book for you: James Peterson, Fish and Shellfish. The guide to fish types in the back is worth the price all by itself. This is especially useful if you have any Chinese-type markets around, because you'll see lots of beautifully fresh fish that you never heard of (a lot of what many people consider "trash fish"), and you'll want advice on how best to cook it.
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    This is the way I have seen most fish cooked in the many, many places I have worked in over the years and I support the method

     Fish should never be cooked dry.

    When the order comes in for the fish the cook places it on a sizzler(a steel oval pan) and under the Broiler it goes, Then it is  finished in the oven.  Before service starts a  stainless steel bain  marie pot of lemon juice, water, white wine, melted clarified butter is all mixed together . Every order of fish gets this mixture put on it before going under the broiler. This procedure keeps fish moist and prevents it from burning. Many places place a lettuce leaf on top of the fish to prevent excess browning.. This  procedure applies to all kinds of broiled fish, It is idiot proof. and good. This way of cooking it applies to better places, not an Applebies or Chile type places

    P/S  I hate to disillusion some of our readers,but more and more our fish is coming frozen both import and from the states if not frozen then like all the chickens frosted which extends the life of the fish. Most of the fish we get from our wholesale purveyors  was caught almost a week ago or more.Now with the Gulf situation, we will see more frozen. Where I work part time I cut about 600 pounds weekly in season of all different varieties  of fish from all over the world. This past season I have seen more and more frosted and frozen from all the fish purveyors.and when I question them , they all admit ''Yes Ed it was frozen or frosted'' They don;t lie to me because our account with them is so big.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  17. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

    Messages:
    2,260
    Likes Received:
    14
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    My favorite fish of all that I've ever had was at a wedding reception in Honolulu. It was a big piece of ahi tuna (2-3 pounds) marinated in soy sauce, ginger and other things (I'm not sure what all), seared on the outside and raw on the inside. They called it Big Island ahi tuna something ... It was my favorite fish ever. It was sliced about 1/4 inch thick. After a while I saw that people hadn't taken much of it, and I munched out and got about half full on that. It was an appetizer.

    I can't remember what all else was there, because that ahi was so good, and it was about 15 yrs ago. It was memorable.

    I can also make something really good (to my taste) with cheap frozen fish. In my opinion, if you let the fish blend in and not have to be the only star, you can still have a really good thing. Even with frozen pollock. I know the difference, and I still say you can make really good fish dishes cooked "wet" and even spicy, as long as the fish doesn't dissolve--then you have no texture.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  18. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    183
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Ed makes a very important point I'd like to underscore. If you don't have evidence to the contrary, assume your fish is defrosted. If you ever eat sashimi or sushi in a good place in Japan, you will find the texture remarkably different -- this is because it's not defrosted (except tuna). The implications:
    1. Don't run down frozen fish, as chances are you're not getting much else;
    2. Be very wary about freezing fish from the market, because re-freezing is disastrous for texture;
    3. Watch out for moisture issues --- defrosted flesh can "weep" water and it can also (not coincidentally) come out very dry very easily.
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    The way you avoid any problem with refreezing is to buy it frozen in the first place. If you're more than, say, 50 miles from a coast, that's the only way to assure quality fish at all.

    I know that "frozen" seems to be treated like a four letter word. But, in fact, frozen is not only more common, it is the best quality when handled properly.

    Let's compare.

    Unless you meet the day boats at the dock and buy the fish right off the deck, so-called "fresh" fish, when you buy it, is several days old. Starting on the boat, the fish was caught anytime from today, to three days ago, and kept on ice. It is then landed, where a processor buys it from the boat. The fish is cleaned, butchered if necessary, and otherwise processed. A wholesaler then buys it from the processor, and delivers it to you, if you're a restaurant, or to a fish market. You, as a retail customer, then go into the market and buy it. Minimum elapsed time: four days, which can stretch to a week. And that's just with locally caught fish. With imported fish it can be even longer.

    Example: During the Copper River season, my fish monger identifies when the fish was air-shipped. For instance, when I shop on Thursday or Friday, the tag might say, "air-shiped Tuesday (date). Even assuming the fish was processed on the same day it was shipped, that makes it three or four days old. Odds are we can add at least another day for the netting and processing. 

    How fresh is that?

    FAS fish, on the other hand, is caught, immediately processed, and flash frozen. Elapsed time: no more than two hours. Unless you catch it yourself, it doesn't get any fresher than that.

    Problems arise not because the fish was frozen, but in how it is handled by the consumer. Fish should be defrosted slowly, in the fridge. Despite what the "experts" say, running it under cold water effects both the flavor and texture (and there's probably a loss of nutrients as well).

    You also have to be sure that it is FAS fish. Some unscrupulous fish mongers will freeze slow moving fish on-site, in a regular freezer. They will then sell it to you either that way, or, even worse, defrosted.

    FWIW, by law, previously frozen fish that's been defrosted is supposed to be identified as such at the fish counter. Most reputable fish places go further than the law, and the ID tags, in addition to the price, will include info such as "wild caught," "farmed," "previously frozen," "local" etc.
    1. Be very wary about freezing fish from the market, because re-freezing is disastrous for texture;
    This is problematical at best. Conventional wisdom has it to be a great truth. But is it?

    Freezing fish in a home freezer can be the culprit, no matter how fresh the fish may be. Home freezers are slow working, and large ice crystals form. Then the fish is defrosted improperly, which increases the problem.

    I would suggest that most of the time a piece of FAS fish that's been properly defrosted, then refrozen in a home freezer, will end up with the same texture as one that started out fresh and was frozen the same way.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  20. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I have found one thing about the preservation of fish that unfortunatly home, most people can't do  That is to Vac-pak after  skinning cutting and cleaning and keeping the individual bags on ice. Although where I work we try and figure it so it is used in 3 days sometimes we can't, and so I give it to staff dining room. .I have opened  vac pact and after 7 days while  constantly  stored on ice , fish was perfect. If you do use a lot of fish home I would recommend buying a vac sealer machine. It will more then pay for itself. Matter of fact some of the as is Dover Sole  I got in this past season came vac pact. Even though there is no more real Dover anymore all it is is 2 or 2 1/2 pound Flounders
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010