Monday, December 11

The Ultimate Guide to Seafood

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Purchasing Seafood

Buying seafood which is fresh is not only essential for taste but also for one’s health. Depending the type of seafood you are looking at, it is not really difficult to check whether the seafood is fresh.

For an entire fish, always check on the eyes to see that it is bright and clear, the skin is shiny and metallic, the gills are red. If the fish meet all of the three criteria, you can say that it is fresh. If the eyes of the fish are dull, it means it is not as fresh as it was originally. What happens if you don’t have the chance to look at the whole fish? Well, you still check its freshness even if you cannot even see its eyes. You can know its freshness by looking at the colour of its skin and by pressing on it with your fingers. If the skin of the fish is shiny and metallic and you did not leave any impression on it after you have remove your fingers, the fish is fresh.

For shellfish like clams and mussels, tap on the shell and wait for its reaction. If the creature closes its shell more tightly than before than it is alive. For a prawn or a shrimp, you can check their freshness by looking at the head and its walking legs. If the head and walking legs are darkened, it means the prawn or shrimp is no longer fresh.

Cooking Seafood

There are many ways you can prepare seafood. You can steam, grilled, boiled, barbecued or use whatever method that can make the seafood delicious. Here are some tips on how to cook good fish from kitchendaily.com:

If you have decided to bake your fish, here is what you can do to make a tasty one: 1. Preheat the oven.

2. Make several shallow cuts on the fish fresh to allow the butter or oil to permeate and to keep the fish moist.

3. Add flavour to the fish with oil infused with herbs.

4. Tuck the ends that are substantially thinner than the thickest part of the fish to prevent them from being over-crisped.

5. Use cuts of similar size to have even cooking.

6. Allow ten minutes of cooking for every inch of thickness and measure the thickness from the thickest part of the fish.

7. Check to see the fish had turned opaque and it is easy to flake it with a fork. If it has turned opaque and you can flake it easily with a fork, it means the fish is ready.

Another way to check whether the fish is ready by making sure the temperature of the thickest part of the fish is 145 degrees Fahrenheit or 62.8 celcius.

8. Let the fish sit for 3 to 4 minutes before serving so that there is enough time for the heat and juice to redistribute to ensure the fish has an even taste all over it.

Grilling your fish

Here’s you can successfully grill your fish:

1. Buy fish that is best for grilling. Buy red snapper or a smaller salmon so that the entire fish can fit onto the grill. If you want to make kebab, buy tuna, swordfish, or salmon. Avoid buying fish that is very thin and flat.

2. Use the right tools. Using two spatulas is more efficient than using a grill fork or a tong. Use aluminium foil when dealing with very delicated fillets to avoid disaster. Get a fish basket if you are thinking of grilling fillets frequently.

3. Clean the grill thoroughly and grease it so that your fish will not stick to the grill.

4. Grease your spatulas so that the fish does not stick to it.

5. Make sure that the heat is not too hot and is moderate so that you fish will not burn up, dry up, and stick to the grill and then, falls apart. 

6. Do not remove the skin of the fish before grilling it as the skin can help keep it intact during the grilling process. You can remove the skin after you have grilled the fish.

7. If you need to cut the fish, cut a larger piece of different thickness from the fish and cut the largest pieces into smaller pieces with equal thickness so that you fish can be cooked evenly. Do not make fish looks perfectly cubical. Although, it looks nice this way, your fish may not be cooked evenly on the grill.

8. Brush the sides of your fish with a little cooking oil to help prevent it from sticking on the grill.

9. You can also use a slice of lime or lemon to keep the pieces of fish separated and the lime and lemon can help add flavour to your fish.

10. Cook your pieces of fish for 3 to 5 minutes for each inch of thickness for each side if you are flipping which is a total of 6 to minutes for each piece.

11. Leave the fish alone once it is on the grill. Let it cook until it’s time to flip it over. Most fillets do not require flipping. Do not over-handle the fish as such action may cause it to fall apart.

12. Make sure you do not overcook your fish. You can know that your fish is overcooked when you pierce your fork onto the thickest part of it and if it is already flaky, the fish is overcooked. You will know you fish is cooked when it starts to turns away from translucent and centre of it begins to become opaque.

Frying your fish

How’s how you can fry your fish successfully:

1. Use a heavy cast iron or seasoned pan with high sides for frying to reduce the chances of spattering.

2. Brush your fish with something with high smoke point like lard, butter or olive oil to prevent it from sticking to your pan.

3. Heat the oil in the pan and then fry the fish until it turns brown on each side. Do put too many things in the pan while frying the fish.

Cooking Shellfish

An Important Note

When a shellfish is being cooked, its shell must open after five minutes of cooking. If it doesn’t, then, throw it away.

Here are some tips from e-how.com on how to make a good shellfish meal.

Mussels

If you have decided to prepare mussels as a meal,

1. Put your fresh mussels into an open bowl and store it in a fridge for 2 to 3 days.

2. Rinse the mussels under slow running for around 30 minutes. While doing so throw away mussels that are heavy especially those filled with mud, mussels with broken shells, and mussels with shells that are opened.

3. Scrap out the “beard” from the edge of mussel carefully with a sharp knife and remove the crunchy edible pea crab from the shell.

4. Steam the mussels for 8 to 10 minutes until the shells pop open.

Oysters

If you have decided prepare oysters as meal:

1. Pick oysters during the winter months so that the water in the oyster bed is cold to have the best flavour.

2. Shuck the oysters yourself carefully with a sharp knife or get the fishmonger to do it for you. Wear thick rubber gloves to prevent injury.

3. You can serve the half-shelled oysters raw with cocktail sauce and crackers; fry the oysters; saute the oysters; or even make chowder with the oyster.

Clams

If you have decided to prepare clams as a meal:

1. Choose clams that come with their shells.

2. Put the clams into an open bowl and put the open bowl into the refrigerator.

3. Wash the clams under running water to remove any mud and sand.

4. Cook clams with soft shells before eating or serving them.

5. You can fry, grill or steam the clams. If you want to stir-fry them, shuck them first. You can also make clam chowders.

Scallop

If you have decided to prepare scallop as a meal:

1. Choose scallops that come from the bay or the sea as such scallop will be already shucked and ready.

2. Remove and throw away the strip of tendon that is attached each scallop.

3. Buy only scallops that are dry and avoid those that are soaked in phosphates because such scallops can absorb water causing them to lose their flavour.

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