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Fishy Facts

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's expensive! It smells! I don't know how to cook it! Which fish do I buy? What about the bones? I love fish but I only ever order it when I am out. I should eat it more often. It is meant to be good for me, however...

It seems as though many of us have a reason why fish is the least cooked meal in the household. Here we put together some tips to get you cooking with fish and discovering just how cheap, fast and versatile a meal it can be. 

Buying Your Fish

When buying fish fillets, buy about 180 to 200g per person if you're planning a meal where fish will be the main component. Use your senses when selecting your fish (either whole or fillets.) Look at the fish and select one that has bright and colourful skin. The colour fades with time. Fish should not be slimy or oily.

If buying whole fish select one with bright, clear eyes that are slightly bulgy. Avoid cloudy eyed fish as this tells us the fish is not at its prime. Sunken eyes tell us that the fish has not been caught in the past 24 hours. You want a fish with clear glassy eyes.

Finally, fresh fish should smell clean or slightly like sea water. As strong fishy smell is a sign that it is not fresh.

Storing Your Fish

Refrigerate your fish as soon as possible as fish can go off very quickly. Good quality fish will last in the fridge for 3-4 days before you need to eat it. To maintain its freshness pat dry the fish with a paper towel, wrap it in clean GLAD Go-Between (GLAD Go-Between sheets are a high-density freezer film that is used to prevent food from sticking in the freezer), put it in an airtight container and place it in the coldest part of the fridge.

If you decide to freeze your fish, use GLAD Go-Between sheets between each fish fillet then wrap the fish in plastic wrap and put it in the back or bottom of the freezer. Best to freeze fish for no longer than 4-5 weeks.

Cooking Your Fish

There are many ways to cook fish - steam, micro-wave, grill, and bake, poach, fry or barbecue. No matter which method you use, remember that the flesh is delicate so for best results do not overcook it or over flavour it.

Fish is best cooked fast and on a high heat. A 200g fish fillet takes about 8 minutes. Rest fish for a few minutes when cooked, just as you would a steak, before serving. Rely on your touch and sight. When cooking fish fillets, you will see the flesh losing its translucency.

Cooking seafood with various herbs may also be beneficial to health, e.g. garlic can significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Other flavour ideas are to add butter, lemon and salt, Asian flavours of soy sauce, spring onions, coriander and chilli, Indian spices, tomato and garlic.

Fish is a super food. Packed with vitamins and minerals, and a major source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish can help to protect against a range of diseases - from cancer to heart disease, depression to arthritis. Definitely something to have on the menu once or twice a week!