Lemons are a common yet versatile ingredient in many recipes. You can use them in combination with other fruits or citrus to make amazing desserts like lemon pie and tarte tatin. You can also add them to your favorite vodka or white wine to make refreshing drinks. The possibilities are endless!
Unfortunately, lemons are quite fickle when it comes to cooking. They need a lot of attention to avoid ending up mushy or bland. To ensure the best possible results, you should always use freshly squeezed lemon juice with your fish. If you prepare it a few hours before serving, the enzymes in the lemon will have time to break down the flesh, making it more digestible. This is especially important if you’re cooking a fatty or deep-fried fish that needs the fattiness to be digested before the actual meal is served.
The Best Way To Cook Fish
When you’re cooking fish, the most important thing to keep in mind is the way you should prepare it. Always start by checking the fish for bones. This can be done by running a sharp tip or the end of a paring knife along the spine of the fish before starting to cook. Make sure you remove these stubborn bones as they can create a dangerous situation if they’re not removed before serving. After you’ve checked for the bones, you should remove the head and tail in the same way, cutting off the fins and turning the fish on its side to open it up so the flesh is accessible for cooking. Now that you’re ready to cook, you can follow the same steps for both small and large fish.
To begin, you should always use a reliable thermometer to check the internal temperature of your fish. The flesh of a fish will be cooked when its internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can always use your instant-read thermometer that you’ve stuck in the center of the fish. Make sure you remove the probe of the thermometer before serving to avoid any strange occurrences once the meal is ready. The best way to prevent any accidents is by preparing the fish in a non-stick skillet or a fryer. In these cases, the easiest and the most practical way to check for doneness is by slicing it open to see if the juices run clear when you press on the meat with a fork. This is an especially useful trick when you’re dealing with whole fish as you’ll be able to see exactly which part is cooked and which part needs more time.
The Timing Is Everything
When you’re cooking anything, the timing is everything. Fish is no different, and it’s essential to get everything right. As soon as you’ve removed the bones and fins, you should start checking the fish for doneness. If you let it rest for too long after removing the head and tail, the flesh will continue to cook, rendering it unusable. The best way to preserve the juiciness of your fish is by constantly turning it over so the flesh is always facing the surface area nearest to the heat source. In a nutshell, the longer the fish rests after cooking, the more susceptible it will be to becoming dry and mealy. To avoid any nasty surprises, always keep an eye on your fish as you go about your business – this way, you’ll be sure to notice any signs of doneness before it’s too late. You should also prepare the fish a few hours before serving to let the flavors mesh properly.
If you’re not sure about the health benefits of fish, you should definitely give it a try. Studies have shown that eating fish on a regular basis can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, help prevent heart disease and stroke, and even fight certain types of cancer. It’s also a good idea to cook your fish without any oils or fats, as these can contribute to increased cholesterol and heart disease. Opt for low-fat dips and sauces instead to keep things light and healthy!
With the above information, you should have no problem preparing delicious fish anytime you want. Just make sure to use the right tools and have everything measured and recorded so you can follow a precise recipe. Having a reliable thermometer will also prove to be indispensable, as you may need to judge the exact moment your fish is cooked by comparing its internal temperature to that of an uncooked fish. As for the lemon juice, always use freshly squeezed with no additions unless specifically called for in the recipe. If you prepare it a few hours before serving, the enzymes in the lemon will have time to break down the flesh, making it more digestible. If you decide to freeze some for later, you should take care not to add too much lemon juice as it will prevent the fish from being solid at room temperature. To avoid any accidents due to the proximity of the heat source, always check the fish for bones before serving and remove as many as possible. The tail should always be removed from the fish before serving as it becomes encrusted in the flesh otherwise. Finally, make sure to serve the fish as soon as possible after removing it from the heat because the residual heat will continue to cook the fish, rendering it less juicy. When you’re finally ready to eat, slice it open to see if the juices run clear when you press on the meat with a fork; if not, then you need to re-heat it briefly before serving. Some of the above information has been adapted from How to Cook a Fish and Seafood Guide by Mark Evans and Matt Hogan.