To ensure fish is fresh, look for shiny eyes and body and slippery outer skin.
When filleting plaice, start on the white side, remove fillet, turn over and then the dark side will be easier to remove.
When skinning fish, dip fingers in salt as this will help you grip the skin. Cut horizontally across the fish tail to reveal skin, pull back skin firmly with one hand and pushing down using a sawing motion, work knife down fish between flesh and skin.
After gutting a salmon there is a line of blood running down the back bone. This can be removed by using a teaspoon to scrape out from one end to the other, in one movement.
Filleting means getting the meat of the fish without the bones. Larger fish, such as largemouth bass, northern pike, salmon, and walleye, are usually filleted. A filleted fish has its skin and all of its bones removed before cooking. Scaling isn't necessary. Fillet knives have a long, thin, blade that's very sharp and specifically designed for filleting fish.
Put the scaled fish on a chopping board and, using scissors, trim off the fins.
Gently cut the fish along belly of starting at the anus to the head.
Spread the body open and remove all of the entrails.
Rake the scales from the tail toward the head with a fish scales or a large spoon. Remove the scales on both sides of the body.
Cut off the head and rinse the fish in clean water.
To fillet a fish, lay it on its side on a flat surface. To remove the dorsal fin, make a deep incision on each side of the fin.
Cut off along the spine bones, the fin should easy remove.
Cut the fish into two parts, densely pressing a knife to the spine. One part will be without a backbone, the second one with it.
Cut off the spine in the second half, using scissors.
Next, insert the knife blade close to the rib bones and slicehe entire rib section of each fillet away.
Wash each fillet in cold water. Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. The fillets are ready to cook or freeze.
A hinged wire grill basket is best for cooking whole fish such as snapper, trout or salmon. It also works well for fillets of tender fish such as perch, snapper, catfish or flounder. Firm fish, such as tuna, salmon, or shark can be cooked directly on the grill if handled carefully.
Skewer small shellfish such as shrimp or scallops on metal or water-soaked wooden skewers or cook them in a grill basket.
Grill fillets over medium to medium-low heat. Fish can cook quickly and it is easier to slow down cook time and monitor to not overcook.
Turn fish only once. (Flipping back and forth will break fish apart.)
If using a marinade, allow fish to soak up flavor for at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate while soaking in marinade.
If you are going to use the marinade as an extra sauce on top of the cooked fish or seafood, the marinade liquid must be boiled by itself for at least 5 minutes to cook out any bacteria that may be there from when the fish was soaking.
To grill shellfish in the shell, such as oysters, mussels and clams, place them directly on the hottest part of the grill. They're done when the shell opens. Discard those that don't open after about 5 minutes.
Just toss your favorite vegetables, such as quartered red and green peppers, or asparagus spears or zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, with your favorite dressing, using about 2 tablespoons dressing for each cup of vegetables.
Drain the vegetables then add to the grill for the last 5 to 7 min. of the meat/fish grilling time.
Prior to starting the grill. Pour a small amount of vegetable oil on a paper towel and lightly coat the grill rack. This will help from having the fish stick to your rack. (If the grill's already started, it's usually too hot to get your hand close enough to do it -- plus not too safe with the oil.
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Brush or pat both sides of the fish lightly with olive oil.
Cook without turning on first side for 2 to 3 minutes.
Rotate fish 45-degrees on the grill (a one-quarter turn). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Flip fish to other side and finish cooking time.
Cook fish or seafood for half the required time on a barbecue grill. This gives the fish the attractive grill marks and some grilled flavor.
Transfer the fish to a microwave-safe baking dish and cook 1 to 2 minutes to finish cooking the fish. Press or flake with a fork to test for doneness.
Remember, fish continues to cook after it is removed from the microwave oven so allow 1 to 2 minutes standing time before you cook it any longer.
Holding the body firmly, grasp the head and pull gently, twisting if necessary, to pull the head away from the body without breaking the ink sac. (If the ink sac breaks, just rinse the squid under cold running water to clear away.) The internal body and tentacles will come with it.
Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. At the center of the tentacles is a small beak. Squeeze to remove and discard.
Set aside the the tentacles to use (they're edible and tasty). If the recipe calls for ink, reserve it, otherwise discard the head and ink sac.
At the top of the body, there is a clear piece of cartilage. Pull it out and discard.
If the squid has an outer spotted membrane-type skin, pull it off and discard.
Under cold running water, wash the tube carefully, inside and out, to get rid of any sand or other remaining tissues, and wash the tentacles carefully as well.
If you're going to stuff them, you're finished. Set them aside to drain.
If you're going to fry them, remove the side fins and keep with the tentacles for cooking since they're edible. Let the squid drain.
If you like the white meat, choose the male crab as this has bigger claws. If you prefer brown meat pick the female, as this has the bigger body (don't we all!)
To remove meat from claw, tap joint with knife and separate the two halves. Use handle of teaspoon to scoop out the meat from inside the claw. Hit the nipper end sharply a couple of times and the outer shell will slide of easily.
Remember that Tempura is best served VERY hot, so be sure to prepare your sauce and condiments, and have your dinner table ready before cooking it.
When preparing the prawns or shrimps, leave the last shell of the joint still attached so that the tail stands when fried. Also, make a few incisions along the belly and stretch the body out. This is to avoid curling when fried.
All vegetables must be patted dry after washing and before dipping into the batter. Stems from Chinese Black mushrooms must be removed. Cut Eggplant lengthwise into 4 pieces. Peel sweet potato and cut into 1-cm-thick rounds. Don't slice them too thickly or else you'll end up with the batter cooked just right but the vegetables still raw inside.
Tempura flour contains cornstarch, baking powder, and sometimes other flours besides soft-wheat flour. This product is made specifically for tempura, so for best results, use this instead of flour for cakes and cookies. They are usually packaged in plastic bags rather than paper ones. Follow instructions on packages as to the ratio of the water and flour. Sometimes there is no need to add egg because it has been previously incorporated into the flour.
Combine batter ingredients only after the oil is hot enough.
Use iced water when making the batter. This is to increase the temperature difference between oil and batter.
Use thick chopsticks or fork and stir the batter in crisscross motion. Batter may be slightly lumpy. Do not use eggbeater.
Ideal amount of oil is two-thirds full in the pan. Drop batter to test the temperature. It is ready when the drop of batter floats back to the surface after descending only halfway to the bottom. If the drop of batter reaches the bottom, the oil is not hot enough.
There are a few different ways to serve Tempura. Here are two of them:
Serve the Tempura pieces on a plate, and prepare some bowls with Tempura dipping sauce.
Tendon (Tempura Donburi): Put the pieces in Tempura dipping sauce, remove them, and put them on top of cooked rice in a bowl. (One bowl per person)
As opposed to meat, salt and pepper fish before cooking. Never scale fish before barbecuing.
Fish with a distinctive flavor, such as salmon, trout or mackerel, are perfect for the barbecue.
Do not microwave more than 3 pounds (1.4 kg) fish at a time.
For a perfectly cooked fish: we all have a tendency to overcook fish. Count 5 to 7 minutes per 1/4 inch (1 cm), 10 to 12 minutes per inch (2.5 cm) for fresh fish and 20 to 25 minutes per inch (10 to 12 minutes per cm) for frozen fish.
It is important to know that fish, which is 60 to 80% water and approximately 18% albuminoid, must, just as eggs, cook quickly, to retain the natural, delicately flavored juices in fish.
Thyme and white wine are always perfect with white fish.
To remove any odour from a microwave-oven: in a small glass bowl, mix together juice and rind of 1 lemon and a little water. Microwave for 5 minutes at 'HIGH', then wipe the inside of the oven with a damp cloth.
Bake in microwave oven - It is possible to get a really golden fish fillet in a microwave-oven.
Preferably, use olive or vegetable oil, not butter as it burns easily.
Always soak bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes, before using, to prevent them from burning on barbecue rack.