When you are buying fish from over the counter, check the smell first. Believe or not, fish should not have a fishy smell; if it does, then it’s unlikely to be fresh!
If you are buying a whole fish, then always check the eyes, they should be bright. If they are dull, opaque or sunken, then the fish is not as fresh as it could be.
Touch the fish. The flesh should be firm to the touch, if it’s too soft, then stay away.
When buying raw pre-cut fish such as steaks or fillets, then make sure the flesh is smooth, and any moisture is clear. If it’s flaky and the moisture looks milky then avoid.
Cooking with fish can be very easy, but because it takes very little cooking, it can also be easy to overcook it.
A simple guide to how long you should cook a piece of fish is to measure the thickest point, then using the rule 1 inch = 10 minutes of cooking time, and then you can’t go far wrong!
To keep your fish moist during cooking let the fish marinate in lime juice or lemon juice (I prefer lime as the flavour is more subtle) for about 10-15minutes as the acidity of the fruit will start the cooking process and you won’t need to cook it for quite so long reducing the risk of it drying out.
When using a piece of un-battered/un-crumbed fish that has been in the freezer for a while, defrost in a shallow bowl of milk. It will help to speed up the defrosting time and make taste fresher.
Smelly fish? Soak in a bowl of milk for 10-20 minutes, and the smell will be gone!
To test if your fish is ready, insert a knife into the thickest part of the flesh and if it’s cooked the fish should be almost translucent in the middle. The fish will continue to cook after it’s removed from the heat so it will be perfect on serving.
If you are pan-frying fish that has its skin, then always cook with the skin side down first as this will ensure the skin goes crispy and the flesh won’t dry out. Adding a couple of cuts through the skin will help to stop the fish curling during cooking.
When cooking fish with the skin on then cook with the skin side down for two-thirds of the cooking time before turning over.