fish & seafood
- Fresh fish should be odourless, blemish-free and firm to the touch.
- To ensure fish is fresh, look for shiny eyes and body and a slippery outer skin. Dull-eyed fish may be safe to eat, but they are well past their prime.
- Buy only at the finest fish markets. These are the places where turnover is so rapid you can be assured of fresh mussels, clams or oysters.
- A simple, time-saving tip for cleaning mussels is to soak them for 1 hour in a bowl of salted water.
- To grill shellfish in their shell, such as oysters, mussels and clams, place them directly on the hottest part of the grill. They're done when the shell opens. Discard those that don't open after about 5 minutes.
- If you can buy fresh squid and octopus – not to mention cuttlefish, do it! They are rare treats even at fine fish markets and should be appreciated as such.
- Clams and oysters will be easier to open if washed with cold water, then placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer for an hour.
- If your pan or grill isn’t hot enough, the fish will stick and you won’t get a nice sear. For pieces of fish destined for a sauté, cover them in flour before cooking. The flour adds great crispness.
- Unlike meat, fish will rot quickly, even in the fridge, unless iced.
- If you are planning a fish barbecue, use the high-fat fish; they won’t dry out as fast and will be juicer and more tasty.
- Tuna, swordfish, halibut and salmon work very well on the grill and tend to stay intact after cooking.
- Thick, dry fish steaks (like tuna or swordfish) taste great when marinated. Sometimes, a simple mix of oil, vinegar and spices is all it takes to make a drier kind of fish juicy.
- Fry fish in unsalted butter and it won’t stick to the pan. Salted butter doesn’t work well.
- To eliminate fish odour from your hands, rub them with a wedge of fresh lemon. Or try washing with vinegar and water or salt and water.
- As opposed to meat, season your fish with salt and pepper before cooking.
- Never scale a fish before barbecueing it.
- Rosemary, thyme and white wine always pair perfectly with white fish.
- Preferably use olive or vegetable oil, and not butter as it burns easily.