QUICK GUIDE TO COOKING FISH WITH FINESSE
Cooking fish is very different to cooking meat. All you need to do is take a look at a fillet of Salmon or Bream and you will see there are some major differences between fish flesh than a steak from a cow. Most importantly you should notice you will find webbing between the muscles in fish fillets.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE COLLAGEN
This connective tissue is made of collagen. It is a protein that holds the muscle fibres together. Fish muscles are much shorter than the muscles in found in cows. Therefore, the collagen you see in fish fillets breaks down much faster when cooking. What that simply means is that fish cooks faster and the flesh breaks down faster. That means there is no need to ever tenderise a fish fillet.
THE GENERAL RULE TO COOKING FISH
The biggest challenge to cooking fish well is to cook enough without cooking too much so that the fish fillets fall apart. As fish fillets cook, the proteins in fish fillets change from translucent to opaque. The general rule is about 10 minutes for each inch of fish but this also varies depending on the cooking method. If you want to get very technical, you can look at investing in a slender digital thermometer to check if the fish has cooked on the inside. You will know that when the innermost part of the fish fillet has reached 140F or 60C.
COOKING FISH TO PERFECTION
To keep you fish fillet moist, you should cook your fish at higher heats while cooking for a shorter period of time. As you can see, it is easy to overcook a fish fillet. Another way to make sure you have cooked the fish enough is to use a small sharp knife and cut into the thickest part of the fish. Once a fish is opaque you know it is done. This applies to whatever way you are cooking fish.
The difference between nearly done, done and overdone does not take much time when cooking fish. Fish that is overdone changes to very tough, much like rubber or leather, in no time. Good fish also doesn’t need much in the way of spices. I often simply go with a bit of salt and pepper and a twist of lemon or lime.
Do you have any fish cooking tips? Share your experience through the comments section below.