5 Ways You have been Cooking Fish Completely Wrong
Planning on making fish for dinner? Learn what not to do before you start cooking.
You over-salt the marinade
If you flavor marinade mostly with salt, the meat will absorb the liquid but leave most of the salt crystals behind. Rub the majority of seasonings and salt directly on the fillet, adding only a small portion of the salt to the marinade. Be careful not to marinate for too long, which will make the fish soggy. Mix dill, fennel, lemon, and a little bit of olive oil for a subtle yet delicious zest.
You cook it for too long
Cooking fish too long will dry it out and cause it to lose its natural flavours. A good rule of thumb: Measure the fish at its thickest point and cook for 10 minutes per inch, flipping halfway through. The flesh should feel firm and turn from translucent to opaque or white, but still be slightly translucent in the middle. “Take it off when there’s just that little bit of translucency left in the middle,” says Randy Hartnell, former Alaskan fisherman and founder of Vital Choice, a website that sells fresh seafood. “You can apply this tip to almost any type of fish. If it’s almost done, it’s done.” For salmon, look for white lines to stand out. “When salmon is almost done, some of the proteins—which are a white colour—will begin to leak out of the fish because they’ve coagulated,” says Tentori.
You touch it too much
Poking at your fish will cause its crunchy outer layer of skin, which traps delicious juices inside the fish, to fall apart as it cooks. Keep flipping to a minimum, and never use tongs. “Use one or two rubber or metal spatulas, or even a spoon, to flip it,” says Tentori. If fish is ready to be flipped, you will be able to easily slide a spatula underneath it. If you try prying it off too early, its crispy layer will stick to the pan.
You thaw incorrectly
Thawing at room temperature or with hot water provides ample opportunity for bacteria to grow. Instead, thaw fish for four to five hours in the refrigerator. If you need to thaw quickly, seal it in a zip-top bag and place it in a bowl filled with cold water. “The bag should be completely covered with water, but make sure the meat itself doesn’t come into contact with the water,” says Tentori. “If it does, it will become too moist and very hard to cook.” This method will thaw a filet of fish in about 20 to 30 minutes.
You overcook or undercook your shrimp
Check the shape of your shrimp. Straight shrimp are undercooked, shrimp that have just curled into a C-shape are perfectly cooked, and shrimp that have twisted into an O-shape are overcooked. “Cook for about a minute and half on each side of the shrimp.”