Seafood deserves its image as a healthy food. It is rich in protein, and oily fish, such as Mackerel and Herring, are high in polyunsaturated fats (the type that helps reduce cholesterol levels). White fish are a good source of minerals as well as low in fat. especially if poached, steamed or lightly grilled. Shellfish have been linked with high cholesterol, but they are also low in saturated fats and it is therefore healthy to eat them in moderation. The Variety of fish and shellfish if staggering. You could eat seafood just once a week for a year without having the same dish twice. Seafood is quick and easy to prepare, making it an attractive ingredient for the busy cook. Many types of fish and most shellfish are sold by us ready to cook and so can be prepared in minutes. Fish is very good value for money by comparison with meat as there is much less waste and no fat or gristle to contend with. Making fish a regular part of your diet therefore makes a lot of sense.
Buying Fish and Shellfish
The eyes of the fish should be clear, bright and moist. Fish with dull, grey or cloudy eyes should be avoided.
The Gills should be bright red or pink, not dull or grey.
Fish should smell of the sea and nothing else. Cooked shellfish should smell fresh, with no hint of ammonia.
If you press the fish lightly with your thumb, the flesh should spring back, leaving little or no imprint.
The shells of hinged shellfish, such as oysters, mussels and clams, should be tightly closed before cooking. If they are slightly open, tap them sharply. If they do not close, discard them.
As you never know when fish is caught, it is best to cook it on the day you buy it. If you are not planning to eat it straight away, put it in the refrigerator and don't keep it for more than a day or two. Fridges are not ideal places to store fish as they tend to have a temperature of about 38°F/5°C and fish is best kept at 32°F/0°C. Put the fish in a plastic container and scatter with ice. Cover with clingfilm and store in the coldest part of the fridge.
Firm-flesh fish, such as Turbot, Monkfish and Doversole, freeze better than Sea bass , Plaice and lemon sole but all deteriorate relatively quickly. Oily fish freeze least successfully, but if you need to keep it more than two days . freezing is the best option. Thaw it thoroughly and slowly before cooking.
All our fish is sold already scaled and filleted. If you buy your fish from a local fishmonger, they will usually prepare it for you for a small charge.
You need little special equipment for the recipes you will find on this website, but if you are inspired by the dishes and plan to cook more fish, any of the following may prove a worthwhile purchase. If you want to poach whole fish, a fish kettle (See Product) would be a good investment. A Wok (See Product) is a Chinese pan with a rounded base is useful for frying and stir frying. For deep frying you will need a deep fat fryer (See Product). If you like to steam fish, think about buying a bamboo steamer or an electric steamer. If you intend to clean fish yourself, a good filleting knife is essential. Tweezers are also useful for removing small bones.
Different cooking methods suit different fish but, as a general rule, poaching, steaming and stewing tend to produce a more moist result than grilling, baking or barbecuing. Drying out can be minimized, however, if the latter three methods are used at sufficiently high temperatures(reducing moisture loss by ensuring the fish is cooked very quickly).
The fish is immersed in a poaching liquid, which might be court -bouillon, fish stock, milk, beer or cider. To poach successfully, bring the liquid to boil and as soon as it boils, remove the pan from the heat and leave the fish to finish cooking in the residual warmth. This method helps to prevent overcooking and is also excellent if you want to serve the fish cold.