Our topic this month is a direct outcome of our Food411 directory's
Q & A feature "Ask Chef Silvia".
Many of our readers are very hesitant to cook fish, saving fish only for when they dine out....we want to put an end to this! Fish is a very quick meal, delicious and healthy (and quicker than ordering out!).
The "mystery" of when the fish is done is easily solved with our handy guide below:
Fish Cooking Guide – 10 minutes per inch of thickness @450 degrees
- 1/4" - 2.5 minutes
- 1/2" - 5 minutes
- 3/4" - 7.5 minutes
- 1" - 10 minutes
- 1.25" -12.5 minutes
- 1.5" - 15 minutes
- 1.75" - 17.5 minutes
- 2" - 20 minutes
Bake: 450 degrees (use center rack)
Broil: Oil rack place fish 2-3 " from heat coils
Grill: Marinate (ny vinaigrette) or use a dry rub seasoning (aka: mix a few spices together, brush Olive oil on fish and rub with the spices). Turn only once 1/2 way through cooking time.
Blacken: season fish with "blackening spices" (a blend of paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder) place in very hot sauté pan with melted butter. Sear for 1/2 the time and then flip – add a bit more butter and cook for remaining time.
Sauté: Season and flour fish, heat oil or butter in pan (don't burn). Add fish cook 1/2 time, turn once finish cooking.
Deep Fry: Place fish in seasoned flour, egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Immerse into 360 degree oil, cook 4 minutes per inch of thickness.
Do not overcook fish, this destroys some of the more subtle flavors and will dry the flesh. Once you remove the fish from the heat, it will still continue to cook for a short while, resulting in a perfectly cooked fish.
Do not overcomplicate things when making fish. A few herbs & spices are all that is required to enhance the flavor of the fish.
Selecting your fish:
Fresh fish should be firm and the flesh should spring back when touched.
Smell the fish. It should have a "fresh sea" aroma to it - NO STRONG ODORS. If it has a strong "fishy" smell, it is not fresh. Ask when the fish was delivered.
Cook fresh fish within 24 hours. Keep the fish as cold as possible until you are ready to cook it, store in the coldest part of your refrigerator. When you ready to cook the fish, rinse it with cold water.
"Cuts" of Fish:
Fillets — Ready-to-cook sides of fish cut lengthwise from the backbone. Allow 1/2 pound per serving.
Steaks — Ready-to-cook widthwise slices of large fish such as salmon, tuna, swordfish. Allow 1/3 to 1/2 pound per serving.
Whole Round — This means that the fish are exactly as they came from the water. The eyes should be clear, the gills bright red, and the skin shiny with tightly clinging scales. Allow 1 pound per serving.
Dressed or Pan Dressed Fish — Scales, head, tail, and fins have all been removed. Allow 1/2 pound per serving.
Fresh fish, frozen at sea, can be fresher than "fresh fish" bought at the market. Most fish sold frozen is cleaned, filleted, and frozen right on the boat within a few hours of the catch, preserving its freshness. Once frozen fish is in the distribution chain, the recommended storage life is three months.
Thaw slowly in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If you're in a hurry, you can run the tightly wrapped fish under COLD water. Cook it as soon as possible to minimize the loss of juices.
Entertaining a large group of friends? Chef Silvia recommends a whole side of salmon – cooked ahead of time and served cold buffet style. Incredibly simple and most important - it allows you to join your party and actually enjoy your friends!
Nut Crusted Salmon
Chef Silvia Bianco
- 1 whole side of salmon filet
- 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
- 2 cups pine nuts (or walnuts, etc)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup of fresh flat leaf parsley
- Sliced lemon for garnish
Place side of salmon on a non-stick baking sheet Season with old bay. Place pine nuts and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a coarse grind. Add breadcrumbs and mix.
Spread over the salmon covering it completely. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes (depends on thickness of the salmon) or until the fish is flakey and opaque in color.
Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking (this will give the nuts a nice toasted color). Transfer to a large platter and serve at warm or room temperature. Garnish with lemon.
Optional: Make a fruit salsa by dicing seasonal fruit such as mango, peaches, kiwi, oranges, grapes and grape tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and fresh mint and surround the salmon with the salsa.
Another simple fish recipe:
Whole Roasted Fish with Herbs
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) fish, such as snapper or bass, scaled, gutted and gills removed (fish monger will do this for you)
- Kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 lemon slices
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 bundle assorted fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano, marjoram and parsley, plus some extra to lay the fish on while baking
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 cups dry white wine
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/2-inch deep on each side of the fish. Salt and olive oil the fish generously.
Season the inside of the fish with salt and olive oil. Place 4 lemon slices, the bay leaves, a bundle of the mixed herbs and 2 of the garlic cloves inside the body cavity.
Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and arrange the remaining assorted herbs, lemon slices and garlic in the center of the tray and lay the fish on top.
Fold the aluminum foil up around the sides of the fish to create a sort of baking dish. Add the white wine and place in the preheated oven and roast until the fish is just cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes.