Top 10 Secrets Of Great Chefs: Fish & Seafood
Fresh Fish Is IT!
Fish offers a great variety of flavors and textures. But, of course, before you can cook fish, you need to know how to buy it. The quality of fish you buy is the most important factor in the final outcome of the dish. When at all possible, buy the whole fish and have it butchered for you. Independent seafood sellers generally butcher their own fish. Just as the purchase of fruits requires pinching or squeezing, there is a battery of tests to perform before you bring home that fish.
The basic thing to look for when purchasing the freshest fish are clear eyes, elastic skin and firm flesh. When buying fillets, you should look for light, bright color. Once you've brought home your salmon or monkfish, remember to store it on ice, not in ice. The chlorine in the water will discolor and break down the flesh.
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When pan frying fish, first of all, make sure the pan is very hot to begin with, and then add the oil. Add the fish with the skin on to the pan and don't move. The fish should be cooked presentation-side down first to get the nicest-looking plate. Lightly shake the panhandle and when the fish is done, the skin will pull away on its own. Never overcook fish. The second it gets opaque through, serve it!
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Whether you prefer to call it squid or calamari, this seafood item may seem a little intimidating. If it's the tentacles that have you freaked out, there's probably not much I can do to alleviate those fears. But if you're seeking to avoid a tough and rubbery dish just remember that cooking squid is a delicate process and follow these tips. Before you get started, make sure it is very dry and super fresh. After cleaning it try marinating the squid in garlic, lemon zest and olive oil.
Since squid likes really intense heat, place a sauté pan in your oven on 550 degree broil or on an outdoor barbecue pit with the top down on a good fire. Add enough olive oil, basic not extra virgin, to create a thin coat in the pan. Next, add a "nut" of butter. Season the squid with salt and pepper, and carefully place it to sizzle in the pan. Move it one time when side one is caramelized. Cook the squid for less than five minutes. You can then pour off the oil and add some of your favorite lemony vinaigrette. Toss all of this over some hearty greens, add a few olives and some roasted tomatoes. You'll have a top-secret, deliciously magic salad.
Bake a Crab Cake
The best way to make the ultimate crab cake is to keep things simple. Just bind the crabmeat with egg, a little mayo and mustard, no breading, no filling, no ginger, no truffle / caviar / chocolate sauce / strawberry jelly or other ickies. Just enough good stuff to hold it together. Bake the cake on high heat quickly until brown. Let it rest until it just lifts off the baking sheet. If you've got fresh, sweet, yummy crab, you don't want to muck it up with all that extra flavor. No pyramid of lettuce or any of that. Just a crab cake on a white platter does the trick.