11 September 2009
This is an excellent alternative to meat in meal planning and can be served in a variety of ways. White fish contains very little fat, making it a low-calorie source of protein. The oils of fatty fish are rich sources of the fat soluble vitamins; vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin D (cholecalciferol). Small fish, such as whitebait and sardines are a useful source of calcium when they are eaten whole, together with the bones. Because fish has fine delicate flesh, care has to be taken not to overcook it.
Buying and Preparation
Good quality fish in prime condition should have a fresh smell and the flesh should be firm and elastic. Whole fish, e.g. herrings, should have plenty of scales, bright eyes and gills. Fish should be prepared and eaten as soon as possible after buying. Quick frozen fish is of good quality and flavour and is an excellent alternative to fresh fish. Most fishmongers will prepare fish, but it is useful to know how to do it.
Large whole fish: cod, haddock, etc, should be cleaned, thoroughly washed and dried.
Small whole fish: herring and mackerel must be scaled and head and entrails removed by cutting behind back of neck, not quite through, and pulling head with knife. Entrails will come away attached to the head. Wash in cold salt water and dry well. The backbone may be removed by placing the open fish, skin uppermost on a board. Press firmly along the centre of thJl fish to loosen backbone. Turn fish over and ease away backbone with a knife.
Cutlets and fillets: cod. haddock, plaice | should be washed and dried. Dark skin of flat fish may be removed before or after cooking and bone removed if cutlets are to be stuffed.
Large whole fish, large cutlets and steaks: coat in seasoned flour, if liked. They are best stuffed with Forcemeat Stuffing. Place in greased ovenproof dish or tin and add sufficient Stork to baste while cooking. Cover with greased greaseproof paper or foil.
Small cutlets, steaks or fillets: place in greased ovenproof dish or tin then dot with knobs of Stork. Season well and add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar. Slices of bacon, herbs, tomato halves or peeled mushrooms seasoned and dotted with Stork may be placed on top of the fish and baked at the same time.
Bake in a pre-heated moderate oven (180°C, 350°F, Gas No. 4) on middle shelf. The baking time will vary according to the size and thickness offish. Large whole fish, up to 2kg (4 lb), large cutlets and steaks approximately 10 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 10 minutes over. Small cutlets, steaks and fillets 15-20 minutes.
Test to see if fish is cooked: insert the point of a knife between bone and flesh or into the thickest part of the fish and draw a little apart. If cooked, the flesh will be firm and white throughout and a soft curd-like deposit should be seen between the flakes. If still pink or dear, cook for a further 5-10 minutes until firm and white.
Any kind of white fish, cutlets or fillets or smoked haddock can be poached gently in a little milk or water, with seasoning, for 5-10 minutes according to size and thickness of fish. Reserve the fish liquor to make a sauce to serve as an accompaniment.
Salmon should be poached in a court bouillon, which should be only slightly simmering with the minimum of movement A court bouillon consists of water, seasoning, vinegar, onion, parsley stalks, sprig of thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Average cooking time depends upon the thickness of the fish but usually allow 10 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 10 minutes over. When cooked, the fish should have a curd-like deposit between the flakes.
Cutlets or fillets of white fish are most suitable for steaming. Place fish on a large greased plate, season and sprinkle with lemon juice. Dot with knobs of Stork. Cover cbsely and place on top of an open saucepan of fast boiling water. Steam for 10-20 minutes according to the thickness of fish. Alternatively if using a steamer, wrap the fish in greased greaseproof paper or foil, and steam as before. Serve with a sauce such as Parsley or Tomato Sauce.
Herrings, bloaters, kippers, small mackerel, trout small cutlets, steaks or thin fillets of plaice and sole are suitable for grilling. Place the fish on the greased rack of grill pan, season, sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar and pour over melted Stork or dot with Stork.
If fish is unfilleted slit diagonally across the skin. Place under red-hot grill and cook for 5-10 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fish, but lower heat after 2-3 minutes. Insert a knife in the thickest part of the fish to test if it is done.
Shallow Frying: Small whole fish such as herrings, bloaters, mackerel, sprats, trout, cutlets, steaks and fillets are suitable for shallow frying. Coat the fish with milk and seasoned flour or egg and breadcrumbs to prevent the fish from absorbing the fat Fine oatmeal can be used for fresh herrings. Do not coat bloaters. Heat enough Spry Crisp'n Dry oil to fill a frying pan to 0.5cm (1/4 inch) in depth or 25-50g (1 -2 oz) White Cap. Fry fish for 5-10 minutes on either side depending on the thickness of the fish.
Deep Frying: Cutlets, steaks arid fillets can be deep fried. Coat with seasoned flour, then with either egg and breadcrumbs or batter, immediately before frying. Use a deep pan and either half fill with Spry Crisp'n Dry oil or use sufficient White Cap to half fill pan when melted (approximately 450-675g. 1-1 ½ lb). Heat with basket immersed to very not (185°C, 360°F), but not smoking.
Use a frying thermometer it available, otherwise a 2.5cm (1 inch) cube of day old bread dropped into the oil should turn golden brown in one minute.
Coating Fish For Frying
Quick Batter: Sieve together in a bowl 125g (4 oz) self-raising flour or 125g (4 oz) plain flour with 1 x 2.5ml spoon (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add gradually 1 x 15ml spoon (1 tablespoon) Spry Crisp'n Dry oil and 295-310ml (1/2 pint) plus 3-4 tablespoons water. If liked substitute 1 x 15ml spoon (1 tablespoon) vinegar for 1 x 15ml spoon (1 tablespoon) water, and beat well until smooth and good coating consistency. Use at once.
Egg and breadcrumbs: coat the fish with seasoned flour. Break an egg on to a plate and whisk lightly with a fork. On another plate or sheet of greaseproof paper have ready a deep layer of fresh or toasted breadcrumbs. Dip the floured fish in the beaten egg and turn once or twice until well coated. Place on the breadcrumbs to coat underneath, toss or turn over and coat the remaining surfaces and press crumbs in firmly with a palette knife, shaking off surplus. Fry as directed.