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The Five Fish Cooking Secrets

  1. Don't Overcook

    When cooked for too long fish toughens, loses flavour and becomes dry. Cook fish only until the flesh is no longer translucent but opaque all the way through and separates easily with the touch of a fork.
    Thickness (not weight) determines cooking time. Freshness and quality can also influence cooking time. The basic rule is to calculate 5 minutes per centimeter (9 minutes per inch) of thickness in the meatiest part for fresh or defrosted fish. The fish is done when white beads begin to form on its surface.
  2. Keep The Fish Moist

    Heat the pan on a high heat so it gets really hot, then add the oil or butter. Pat the fish dry using a towel and then slide in the fish when the oil or butter is hot.
    Sear the fish evenly on both sides so you have an even crust, this keeps it deliciously moist and succulent inside. Sear the fish once on each side, constant flipping will ruin a good crust. Let the fish cook, the fillet will release easily when a crust is formed.
    When you have a nice sear add the fish to the sauce, keeping the sauce underneath the fish. Putting the sauce on top of the fish will ruin the crust.
  3. Cook On The First Side For Longer

    To achieve lovely moist and tasty fish cook it for a longer time on the first side, and a much shorter time (50% shorter) on the second side.
    When you remove it from the heat, let it stand for about an additional two minutes, it will continue to cook, but it will also retain its tenderness.
    Fish continues to cook after you have removed it from the heat, for example: if you want medium fish, cook it until a little over medium rare and then remove it and let it sit. This will get you up to medium without over cooking.
  4. Keep The Skin On

    Many fish recipes instruct you to remove the fish skin before cooking to keep things looking neat, but cooking fish with the skin on serves two purposes:
    • It holds the fish together while youíre cooking it
    • It helps keep the fish moist
    If you must remove the skin, wait until its cooked.
  5. Drain Frozen Fish While Thawing Out

    Let the fish thaw naturally in a fridge inside a colander or perforated pan, with another container underneath.
    This is to seprate it from the draining liquid and stop the fish absorbing these liquids and becoming soggy.

For help with selecting the very best fish to cook, see our what to look for when buying seafood page.

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