Learning how to make fish like a pro is not as difficult as it might sound. As long as you familiarize yourself with certain guidelines, such as how to prepare a fish and how long to cook the fish, your easy fish recipes should come out great.
How Long to Cook Fish
There is a fine balance between well cooked fish and overcooked fish. For the best results, cook the fish until it is nearly done (and still slightly opaque in the middle) and then let it stand for a few minutes, outside the cooking container, to finish cooking.
The heat from the plate and sauce will finish it off. This is because a pan holds heat when you take it off the heat so if your fish is done and you leave it in the pan it keeps cooking in the hot liquid or while it is in contact with the hot metal.
Salmon, tuna, and similar fish can be served rare or medium rare but it is also fine to cook these to medium if you prefer. Bear in mind that the longer you cook the fish the drier it will be.
Tuna is amazing when you sear it in a very hot pan and serve it rare, like a good steak, with a browned crust and a red center. Try pressing crushed cashews or cracked black peppercorns all over a tuna steak and then pan-frying it. Cut it in to half inch slices and arrange them fanned out on a plate for a gourmet style presentation.
How to Marinate Fish
You might like to marinate your fish and this adds moisture and flavor. Fish does not require a long marinating time and if it is left in an acidic mixture for longer than half the hour, the acid starts to eat away at the protein. This makes the fish mushy. Even firm, meaty fish like tuna and salmon should only have an hour maximum.
You can use oil, salt and pepper and something acidic like lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, or red wine vinegar. Other seasonings can include parsley, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped jalapenos, or whatever you like.
Which Cooking Method to Use
As a guideline, oily fish are better for grilling, medium-flavored ones are good for pan-frying, and delicate ones are nice when you steam or poach them. Leatherjacket, trevally, ocean trout, snapper, bream, flounder, sea bass, and rainbow trout are good for baking.
Tuna, blue-eyed cod, swordfish, flathead, mullet, sardines, herring, kahawai, trout, salmon, kingfish, and mackerel are nice when you grill them. Baste or marinate lean fish so it does not dry out when you cook it.
Red mullet, trevally, kingfish, sea bass, bream, whiting, mackerel, and coley are good for baking, although you should be careful not to combine strong flavored oily fish in one recipe because the flavors might clash. If you enjoy deep fried fish recipes, try cod, sardines, dory, flat fish, orange roughy, lemon-fish, grouper, or whitebait. Big, thick fillets sometimes dry out on the outside before the middle is done so use smaller pieces.
Any firm-fleshed fish can be stir-fried, including mullet and tuna. Most fish can be pan-fried. Poach or steam trout, sea bass, snapper, bream, kingfish, flathead, or salmon. Poach in a wine or fish stock based bouillon to maximize the flavor of your delicious and easy fish recipes.
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