Selection or Buying of Fish
The buying and selecting process is different for fish and shell fish, I will write it separately for both. Below are the following points which should be checked before purchasing fish or shell fish.
- Skin- Should be shiny and of good color.
- Color- For white fish, the color should be white, not faintly yellow.
- Weight- The body weight should be proportionate in comparison with the length of the fish and should be springy.
- Eyes- It should be absolutely fresh and bright not shrunken.
- Gills- It should be bright red in color.
- Finger Marks- If the finger marks remain after it has been pressed, then it is not fresh.
- Flesh- Raw flesh should not come out from the bone.
- Scales- Should not come out very easily.
- Tails- The tail should be stiff in nature.
- Freshness- Can be recognized by the brightness of the eyes and stiffness of flesh and tail.
- Claws- When pulled, should spring back and both the claws are attached.
- Smell- There should not be any bad smell.
- Weight- The weight should be proportionate with the body.
- Shell- Shell should be hard and shouldn’t break easily.
- Legs- Legs should be attached to the body and shouldn’t come out without pulling.
- Tail- Tail should be intact.
Storage of Fish & Shellfish
Freshness in the fish is of utmost important the period of storage should be reduced to minimum and if at all it has to be stored, fish must be clean, washed and dried with a fresh dry cloth. Placed on a clean tray and store under a suitable refrigeration with the temperature limit 35°F (1.5°C) – 45°F (7.2°C). In case of shellfish if possible they should be purchased alive so as to ensure absolute freshness and stored in a cool room and cooked as fast as possible.
Fabrication of Fish
- Fillet- A fillet is a boneless cut such as a side of a fish. A round fish yields 2 whereas flat fish yields 4 fillets.
- Tronçon- Flat fish cut on the bone
- Darné- Round fish cut on the bone
- Supreme- A supreme is a slice cut off a fillet, sometimes cut at a slant. This cut is now commonly called a pavé which means ‘a slab or block’ and usually applied to cake or dessert – but now is fashionably applied to fish.
- Goujons- Strips of fillet cut 8 x .5 cm, deep fried (with coating), stir fry. This cut is sometimes also known as ‘Finger Cut’.
- Paupiette- Fillet of fish, spread with a farce and rolled; poached. ‘Cravatte’ is also a cut which is from the same cut as Paupiette. It is a fillet tied in a knot.
- Delice- Fillet of fish neatly folded in half, poached.
- En Tresse- Also known as ‘Plaited’. Fillet of fish cut lengthwise into three and plaited
Nutritional Value of Fish
Fish are an excellent source of protein and are low in saturated fats and carbohydrates. Most of the fat they do contain is polyunsaturated (unlike the animal fat which is saturated).
White fish have a more delicate flavor than oily fish. They have less than 2% fat and contain approximately 80calories/100gms. Vitamin A & D are only present in the liver.
Oily fish, generally have darker, richer flesh. They have 8 – 20% fat and contain approximately 160calories/100gms. It contain fat soluble vitamins and Omega3 fatty acids. These are unsaturated fatty acids that are essential for health.
Cooking of Fish
Lean fish are those that are low in fat. Examples: flounder, sole, cod, red snapper, bass, perch, halibut, pike. Because lean fish has almost no fat, it can easily become dry, especially if overcooked. It is often served with sauces to enhance moistness and give richness.
- Moist-Heat Methods-Lean fish is especially well suited to poaching. This method preserves moistness.
- Dry-Heat Methods-Lean fish, if it is broiled or baked, should be basted with butter or oil. Take special care not to overcook it, or the fish will be dry.
- Dry-Heat Methods with Fat- Lean fish may be fried or sautéed. The fish gains palatability from the added fat.
Oily fish are those that are high in fat. Examples: salmon, tuna, trout, butter fish, mackerel. The fat in these fish enables them to tolerate more heat without becoming dry.
- Moist-Heat Methods-Fat fish, like lean fish, can be cooked by moist heat. Poached salmon and trout are very popular.
- Dry-Heat Methods-Oily fish are well suited to broiling and baking. The dry heat helps eliminate excessive oiliness.
- Dry-Heat Methods with Fat- Large oily fish, like salmon, and stronger-flavored fish, like bluefish and mackerel, may be cooked in fat, but care should be taken to avoid excessive greasiness. Smaller ones, like trout, are often pan-fried.
Also read Post “Classification of Fish”