We recently conducted a survey as part of our Cook it yourself campaign, to find out what most people are afraid of cooking. Any guesses as to what the most common answer was? Yes, that’s right, fish

The fear of either over or under cooking the delicate flesh, as well as hacking it to pieces in an attempt at filleting scored top of the leader board for scariest thing to cook (along with soufflés, shellfish and tricky meats). But the good news is that a bit of advice and practice can get rid of those fears.

Buying fish

There are a few simple rules to follow when buying fresh fish:

  1. The eyes. Eyes should be clear and bright – one of the best indicators of freshness.
  2. Firm flesh. This is important and can indicate whether a fish has been frozen before or not. When you press the flesh it should feel plump and firm.
  3. Bright gills. These are often removed, but if they aren’t they should be bright red, not faded.
  4. The smell! It shouldn’t smell fishy, it should smell like the sea!

Cooking fish

  1. Use plenty of oil in the pan.
  2. Get the oil really hot.
  3. Season the skin of the fish with a generous pinch of salt.
  4. When the oil is starting to smoke, add the fish to the pan skin side down (use a utensil to hold it flat if it bows.
  5. Leave it alone for 3 or four minutes.
  6. You are looking for a golden brown, crispy skin before flipping the fish over to finish cooking for a couple of minutes.
  7. To check the fish is cooked, check the flakes are defined – they should be falling apart and the flesh should be firm.
  8. To bake the fish, place in a hot oven (190c) for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on size.

To help people conquer their fear of fish we are running a series of classes that will cover fish filleting, handling and cooking, including:

Come and join us and see for yourself just how easy (and therapeutic) filleting and cooking fish can be!