Seafood is one of the most delicious proteins you can use in the kitchen. The thought of cooking it should be an exciting one but, for many, it can bring some anxiety – filleting, de-boning, shucking; it’s foreign and often difficult to do well.
To help, here are some very quick and handy tips about cooking with a range of different seafood varieties.
When it comes to fish, if you’re after fillets, there are a few things to look out for. Make sure the fish fillet isn’t easily breakable – it should spring back when touched.
For a whole fish the rules are similar. Fresh fish should be firm and the flesh should spring back when touched. The eyes should appear clear, the gills should be red in colour and, it should smell of the sea.
From the moment it’s bought, fish, whether it’s a fillet or a whole fish, should be stored frozen. And remember, never thaw it and re-freeze.
When it comes to filleting, firstly remove the head, fillet from the back with the knife moving away from you; use the backbone to guide you, and just go slowly.
Pliers or tweezers are your best friends here. On a flat surface, run your hand across it especially the thickest part of the fillet. Grab the tip of the bone and firmly pull it out. If it doesn’t work, pull sideways as well.
When it comes to cooking fish, it’s generally pretty quick. Roasting fish, the general rule is 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Most seasoned chefs steer towards 8 minutes to avoid overcooking.
Seafood doesn’t have to be an effort. If you want something incredibly easy, cooking with shellfish like mussels, clams, shrimp, and squid is simple and done in a matter of minutes in a variety of different ways.
Prawns are an Aussie favourite. When it comes to shelling, start by pulling off the legs on the underside of the shrimp. Then grasp the shell from the underside and peel outward. Pinch and slide the tail too or leave it intact. To devein, move your thumb down the length of the back from the head to the tail.
When it comes to more advanced seafood, like oysters, it’s important to know what you’re doing. When shucking, protect yourself by using a towel. Take an oyster-shucking knife, placing the tip of the knife at the base. Twist the knife firmly and then lever the knife slowly upwards opening the oyster gently.
And now you’re ready to get started! Check out our delicious Bouillabaisse recipe by Miguel Maestre.
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