Fish is considered a highly nutritious food that contributes to overall health. However, properly processing fish can be a challenge for some. If you find that the fish dishes you prepare are not turning out as delicious as you’d like, consider if you are making any of the following mistakes:
Inadequate Heating of Cooking Surface
Ensure that your pan or oven is preheated to the appropriate temperature before adding the fish. Cold fish proteins can form strong chemical bonds when in contact with hot metal, which can make it difficult to achieve desired cooking results. Take your time to allow the pan or oven to become extremely hot, as this will lead to faster cooking of the fish.
It’s important to avoid frying or grilling fish for an extended period of time, as this can result in dry and flavorless fish. As a general rule, the cooking time for fish with a thickness of approximately 2.5cm should be around 10 minutes. Flip the fish halfway through cooking. The fish meat should be firm and opaque white, but still slightly opaque in the center. This cooking method can be applied to most types of fish. For salmon, look for white streaks to determine readiness. These streaks indicate proteins that have leaked from the fish due to freezing.
Excessive Manipulation of Fish
Excessive touching and flipping of fish can create a layer on the skin that retains internal moisture. Limit the number of times you flip the fish and avoid using tongs, as they can easily damage the delicate flesh. Instead, use a spatula or spoon to flip the fish. When it’s ready to be flipped, the fish will easily release from the cooking surface. If it’s too early, the skin may stick to the pan.
Improper Thawing Techniques
Avoid thawing fish at room temperature or using hot water, as these methods create ideal conditions for bacterial growth. It is best to thaw fish in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours. If you need to thaw it quickly, place the fish in a ziplock bag and immerse it in a basin of cold water. This method will thaw the fish in approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
Inadequate Inspection of Fish Before Purchase
When purchasing fish, carefully inspect it for freshness. Start by examining the eyes, which should be bright, clean, and not flattened. This indicates freshness. Fresh fish should also feel firm and have an elastic texture when pressed. Additionally, fresh fish should have a pleasant aroma of the sea, rather than a strong fishy smell, which can indicate that the fish is old or spoiled.