NOTES FROM THE CHEF’S TABLE – COOKING WITH FRESH FISH NEED NOT BE INTIMIDATING
The biggest problem many of us run into when preparing fish is buying it frozen and then being so concerned about cooking it fully that we overcook it.
But, if you follow a few basic guidelines, you can shop, prepare and enjoy fresh fish and seafood with confidence.
First, cooking and serving quality fresh fish starts at the market. The place you buy your fish should smell as fresh as the ocean; not the harbor, and very generally speaking, gourmet and natural-food stores have better standards for good fresh fish. Talk to and get to know your fishmonger or the person behind the fish counter. They can be extremely helpful in assisting with your choices and purchases.
Second, always buy fresh; not frozen or previously frozen. Buy fish in the case; not wrapped in plastic. It should be on ice; not in ice. And it should have a bright, lightly moist appearance.
Third, shopping day is fish day. Plan to cook your fish within 48 hours of purchase but it’s best to cook it the day of purchase.
Fourth, do not over-cook. Overcooked fish smells and tastes, well, fishy. Prepare it to medium versus medium-well. Whether you roast it, sauté it or grill it, all proteins firm as they cook. So cook your fish just until it is firm and springy to the touch.
And fifth, learn to prepare many different types of fish. It’s versatile, it’s delicious, and it’s good for you!