Three easy fish suppers
Fish can simple yet elegant, without much effort
Fish is the best convenience food there is – cooked in minutes with little preparation and no mess. It’s simple yet elegant, without much effort. It sells itself. It’s an ingredient that has so much going for it, never failing to impress both in its raw and cooked state. Yet, it is the one ingredient that causes the most fear in both the novice cook and trained chef. Even to the extent that some avoid it. How many restaurant menus have no freshly cooked fish on them? Too many.
Most methods of cooking, from pan frying, grilling, poaching, steaming, en papillote to baking, work with fish. This makes it the ideal ingredient for a simple, last- minute lunch or dinner, a one- pot dish for a family and above all it is ideal when cooking for one.
Cooking fish isn’t hard. So, in the interest of getting fish on your table here are my main pieces of advice.
“Buy well and cook simple” is my mantra when it comes to all food, especially fish. When shopping for fish use your nose and eyes . Fresh fish is visibly firmer and it doesn’t smell “fishy”. Don’t be shy about asking its origin ( which will give you an idea of its age – the further it has travelled, the less fresh) and for a close- up smell. Skinning, boning and scaling it can seem daunting when you’re caught for time or don’t have the right tools, so ask your fishmonger to do the job for you. Don’t be drawn to a certain type of fish if it means compromising on freshness. In time, you’ll develop a good relationship with your fishmonger and they’ll point you in the right direction. I can safely say that a friendship with your butcher and fishmonger will always be an asset. Overcooking is the most prevalent error in the kitchen. This can be easily corrected when one remembers that fish is done when the flesh just starts to turn from translucent to opaque while still firm and moist. Keep in mind that it will continue to cook in its own heat as it makes its way to the table. Fish, unlike meat, softens as you cook it. Undercooked fish can always be returned to the pan whereas over- cooked fish is just a pity!