Kitchen Hints and Tips - Fish and Seafood

Preparing delightful fish dishes does not really require special ingredients and sophisticated tableware and cooking appliances. What you need is the simple skill that will let you see and know the fresh ones. Upon knowing what is fresh would let you cook tasty and really good fish viands. Since the tastiness of fish dishes highly depends on freshness, you have to understand and always remember that each fish bears different signs of freshness. And on this page, you would find the most practical tips on choosing the freshest fish for you and your family!

Here are some tips for buying a fresh fish: The eyes are slightly protruded, bright and clear. The gills should be red or pink. A stale fish has eyes that are pink, sunken and cloudy, and the gills are gray.

Here is a good Bermudian fish trick called "salt and sour." Before cooking any fish squeeze lime or lemon juice over it, season with salt and pepper and let it stand at room temperature for about an hour. The acid of the juice will soften the connective tissues of the fish so that a shorter cooking time is necessary and will also keep it a nice color.

To get rid of odors while cooking fish, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar (any variety) to 2 cups of water, then simmer it in a small saucepan while the fish is cooking.

When baking fish, lay it on a bed of thinly sliced onions, parsley and lettuce leaves. The fish won't stick, it will have a savory taste, and pan drippings will have a wonderful flavor, also.

The rule-of-thumb for baking fish is to measure fish at the thickest part and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees F for every inch measured. For example, a 1 1/2-inch thick cod steak would bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.

To eliminate fish odor from your hands, rub them with a wedge of fresh lemon.

Soak fish in 1/4 cup vinegar, lemon juice or wine and water before cooking it for a sweet tender taste.

Remove the fishy smell from your hands by washing with vinegar and water or salt and water.

When baking whole fish, wrap it in well-oiled cheesecloth. When fish is done, it can be lifted from baking pan without falling to pieces. To remove the cloth, slip a spatula under fish and slide cloth out after fish is on the platter.

Thaw frozen fish in milk. The milk draws out the frozen taste and provides a fresh-caught flavor.

If fish smells a little "fishy," place fish in a shallow dish; add enough milk, blended with a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice, to cover. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour. Do not leave the fish in the milk bath for longer than an hour, because the lactic acid in the milk will break down the connective tissue in the fish and it will tend to fall apart when cooked. Drain fish, pat dry on paper towels and use as desired. This can often salvage fish that you have kept a bit too long before using.

Fish should never be cooked to an internal temperature over 131 degrees F (55 degrees C). The formula is: Fish should be cooked at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) 10 MINUTES PER INCH OF THICKNESS. This rule applies to fillets, whole fish, steaks, stuffed fish, fish with toppings or fish any way. Stand a ruler on end next to fish to be cooked; measure its height. If it's 3 inches thick, cook 30 minutes; if it's 1 inch thick, cook 10 minutes; if it's 1/2 inch thick, cook 5 minutes.

Anchovies
If you want anchovies to add flavor that's more subtle than salty, soak them in milk for 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

If anchovies are just too salty, soak or rinse them in cold water. The longer the water is in contact with the anchovies, the more salt will be removed.

Clams
Clams and oysters will be simple to open if washed with cold water, then placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer for one hour.

Clams are simple to open if washed with cold water then placed in a plastic bag and put into the freezer for an hour.

Oysters
To clean oyster shells, place shells in the sink under running water. Scrub vigorously, inside and out, using a stiff brush. Next fill the sink with water. Add enough bleach to make a strong solution. Soak the shells in the bleach solution overnight. Drain and place them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Run them through a full cycle. Each time you use the shells, merely scrape out the bits of food, and put them in the dishwasher.

Oysters will be simple to open if washed with cold water then placed in a plastic bag and put into the freezer for an hour.

Shrimp
Get rid of the canned taste in canned shrimp by soaking them in a little sherry and 2 tablespoons vinegar for about 15 minutes.

You can improve the taste of canned shrimp by rinsing well with cold water then soaking in a little white wine before using.

De-vein them fast with a crochet hook.

To rid canned shrimp of the tinny taste, soak them in a little sherry and two tablespoons of vinegar for about 15 minutes.