Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Fish
A fish dish might be very scrumptious and tasty, but cooking seafood is one of the most difficult of tasks, and only a few people can master this art. Many cooking experts say that when it comes to cooking seafood there is a very thin margin for mistakes.
This means that the tiniest of mistakes and the most little sloppiness can result in a disaster of a dish. This delicate nature of seafood is what makes many hesitate while cooking it. Most people would even go as far as to opt-out of cooking it all together. However, since seafood holds a high nutritional value it is advised that you must learn how to cook it so that you can consume it often.
For example, fish dish can be a great addition to your seafood menu. It comes with a plethora of health benefits, not only for you but for your children as well. However, similar to other seafood, cooking a perfect piece of fish can be very tricky. It is very common for the fish you cook at home to become tasteless and mushy. On the other hand, some people may complain of it becoming dry.
Well, if that’s the case for you too, and you want to get rid of this disaster of a situation, we have got your back. All you have to do now is to learn about all the most common mistakes we tend to make when cooking fish. These are as follows.
1. Improper Freezing:
The first mistake that most people do is not to freeze the fish properly once they get it from the market. Most individuals freeze the fish right away after washing it. This is an incorrect practice. Once you have gotten your fresh fish, clean it and dry it properly. You can do so with the help of a paper towel.
After drying out the filets cover them with a cling wrap or seal them in a zip lock bag. This helps to avoid freezer burns. Keeping the fish in an airtight bag can help you to freeze eth fish for three to five months. However, the longest it is recommended to freeze fish is for up to 15 days. Try to not freeze it more than that.
2. The Pan is Not Hot Enough:
When cooking a fish do not place the filet on a semi-hot pan. If the pan is not adequately hot, the fish will absorb oil and get really soggy and oily. However, don’t place the fish in burning oil either. Start cooking when the oil is hot enough to start frying the surface. If you learn the difference and place the fish at the right time your fish won’t be sticky or uneven anymore!
3. Constantly Touching and Fiddling With the Fish:
As we have said before fish is very delicate, so the more you touch it while cooking the more it may break apart. Hence, avoid constantly moving the fish in the pan. The less you fiddle with it the better. When you slip the fish into the pan, let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes straight, and then flip it and let the other side get done. The rule is that if you are cooking a 1-inch fillet, give each side 5 minutes, and 10 minutes if you are baking fish for your seafood menu.
4. Leaving the Surface Wet:
If you’re cooking your fish fresh then pat dry it after cleaning. Just like you would dry it before freezing, it is necessary that you do the same before cooking. If you don’t, the wet surface would cause the fish to steam immediately after hitting the pan. And you will end up with a steamed fish with a flaky crust rather than a seared one that has a crisp and golden crust. Therefore, always pat dry the fish with a paper towel before cooking.
5. Missed Bones:
Imagine one of your guests enjoying your cooking and suddenly they catch a bone in their throat. This is one of the things that you would try to avoid. If this happens, sadly, no one would care about the taste of the dish.
Therefore, be very careful when it comes to de-boning your fish. You can also buy fish that are pre-cleaned and are sold under the ‘boneless’ label. However, if you go the other way, you can spread the fillet on a flat surface and feel the bones from the top with your fingers and pull them out with tweezers.
This is one of the very common mistakes. In fear of ending up with raw fish, most people tend to overcook it. While the cooking time for each kind of fish varies, a standard is cooking for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. If you keep cooking it for longer than that, the fillet can get hard and bland, so try and avoid that.
7. Seasoning it Quickly:
Many individuals sprinkle the seasoning on the fish as soon as they get it out of the pan or while they are cooking. This causes the fish to dry out. Why? Salt tends to draw out moisture from the meat, so try and avoid seasoning it so quickly. Once your fish is 80 % ready, with a little translucent center, remove it from the pan and place it on a cooling rack. This is the right time to season your fish. Once the surface is crisp, it lets the salt stay on top and does not dry out the meat. This would also help retain the fat in the fish. However, try to not over-season it either. Just a pinch of salt and you’re done with the most perfect dish to add to your seafood menu!