Cooking fish well is one of those key skills any chef or aspiring cook needs to know. Once you have the proper technique, you can have a hearty, healthy dinner prepared in as little as 10 minutes. When every second counts in our busy lives, that can make a real difference!
Fish is a very versatile food, you can fry it, roast it, bake it, barbecue it and even microwave it, although we would never suggest that last one. You can also cook fish on a stone like we do here at The Stone Grill. It is certainly something to see and taste. There’s nothing quite like it.
If you want to try cooking fish at home, here are a few simple ways to do it.
Oven baked fish
You have to be careful when baking fish to not dry it out. To avoid this, coat the fish with melted butter and cover loosely with tin foil. Heat the oven to around 200C and place in the oven for a period of time.
That time depends on the fish, size and whether it’s a fillet or whole fish. As an example, you would cook a 200g white fish fillet for around 15 – 20 minutes. A whole mackerel weighing in at 350g or so would need up to 30 minutes.
Steaming fish is one of the healthiest ways to eat it. You can cook it in a steamer, under the grill or in the oven as above. All the goodness and flavour is retained when steamed, delivering a very healthy and tasty dish with very little effort.
Steaming works very well with salmon or trout and is actually quite easy to do. You can use a steaming basket and pan on the hob or a bamboo steamer. Fill the pan with some water, just up to the level where the basket will sit. Get it boiling, add the fish to the basket and put it in the pan. Ensure no water touches the fish and put the lid on the pan. Depending on the size of the fish, give it 5 -10 minutes with the water still boiling.
Wrapping in foil is called “en papillote” and is a very easy way to cook fish. Whereas we covered our fish fillets loosely when oven cooking, here we prepare, season and add any ingredients you want to cook with and wrap fully in foil. The foil ensures all juices are kept with the fish. It is a very healthy and tasty way to cook. Add the fish to a 200C oven for around 15 minutes for a fillet or 30 minutes for a whole fish.
A skillet-cooked fish is about as close as you can get to cooking fish on a stone at home. Simply dry and season the fish, get the skillet hot with a little oil and add the fish skin or seasoned side down.
Cook for 2 or 3 minutes without touching it and then season the top before slipping. Cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes. The fish should be flaky and opaque when done. That’s it!