How to Cook Perfect Seafood : Top 7 Tips
Don’t be intimidated by seafood. Use these simple tips to get the best out of any cooking method for seafood :
Always go for the freshest seafood available. Get to know your local fishmonger and ask him what is in season and what time the boats come it. The eyes of the fish should be clear and glassy and if you lift up the gills, it should be a deep red colour. The fish should be firm to touch. It should not smell fishy, but like the ocean, a mineral smell. Buy Frozen Fish from brands that use Quick freezing of Flash freezing technologies. This retains the flavours best.
2. Storing Frozen Fish
Do not refreeze fish that has already been thawed. If you do, it can breakdown the fish tissue and this is how fish can sometimes go soggy. To store snap-frozen fish, leave it in its original packaging and place in your freezer. Otherwise, pop your fish in a zip-lock bag, submerse into cold water to get rid of the air bubbles then seal it shut. That way the fish can be as close to vacuum packed as possible.
One of the best ways to serve fish is by searing the meat on a hot pan so that the moisture of the seafood remains trapped inside. Season the pan not the fish. This helps in forming a nice crust .Pat your seafood dry – moisture on seafood will prevent it from browning; Fish will release from the cooking surface on its own once it’s properly seared so don’t prod at it until it is ready. Start fish cooking presentation side-down – it just looks nicer.
Start with cool poaching liquid, then warm the seafood and liquid together – this will prevent uneven cooking. You can infuse the poaching liquid with flavours like thyme and Lemon for added flavour. You can also poach the in seafood stock or vegetable stock.
Put a small piece of bread in the oil – your oil is to temp if the bread turns golden brown in about 45 seconds. Fish can disintegrate very fast in the fryer, so it helps to give it a light dusting of flour or semolina before frying.
Grilling seafood can drain out all the moisture very fast so be sure to add a lot of marinade as a basting during the grilling. Adding oil to the marinade will also help keep in the moisture. Seafood goes really well with the scorched flavours from grilling, and can be paired with vegetable like grilled corn and grilled peppers.
Baking seafood is the most tricky to get right because it cooks so fast and you have no idea what is going on in the oven A good tip is to place your seafood and other ingredients inside a baking paper or oven proof foil and wrap the whole thing into a parcel before baking. This traps in all the flavours. The French call this technique “En Papillote” Another tip for baking seafood is to use a bed of rice or vegetables at the bottom of the baking pan to prevent the meat from drying out.