Great fish recipes come in various guises: grilled, poached and baked but so often the results are disappointing! So, when cooking fish outdoors what are some of the secrets of success?
Here are my 10 recommendations
- The foremost secret to cooking great fish recipes is not to overcook it. Fish is delicate; it easily becomes tough and loses both its flavor & moisture if over cooked on an outdoor grill;
- Cook your fish hot & fast, this way its cooked well without the loss of its moisture;
- Handle your fish as little as possible because fish easily falls apart! Try to use fish baskets in your stock pot; use well oiled surfaces / pans when grilling; use a fish slice to turn your fish rather than a thick spatula;
- Always defrost your fish before cooking …… and if you can, always buy fresh not frozen fish; frozen fish after defrosting is often limp and watery!
- When buying your fish try to buy fillets that are the same thickness through their length [often its not possible]; this avoids over coking of the thin ends of the fish. If you do have thin ends, cut them off and grill them separately for less time;
- Often we get the quantity wrong and that's a disappointment, when cooking fillets aim for a third to half a pound of fish per person;
- Remember, its not the weight of the fish but the thickness of the fish that determines how long you should cook it. Freshness also has a bearing. The guideline for how long to cook fish is to calculate 5 minutes per centimeter or 10 minutes per inch of thickness in the thickest part of the fish.
- If you're not measuring, another way to tell when to stop cooking your fish on the grill or in the skillet is by looking. Once the flesh of the fish is no longer translucent but has become opaque & separates easily with a fork its cooked.
- Do not be frightened of marinating fish; marinades work great with fish; but an hour is as much as is needed. Also remember that herbs & spices can be rubbed into the flesh just before grilling.
- Wine helps to add flavor to fish, add wine to the pan when cooking with a skillet while the fish is simmering or drizzle fish with a tablespoon or two of wine and bake it in a foil package.