26.3.08

Something smells fishy here..


"Don't eat me! Don't eat me!" said the Pomfret

Well..it's probably me! I love fish and this love for fish has actually landed me a job at one of London's most expensive restaurants. That was where I started my career as a commis chef in the Fish section.

If you want to be a Fish Chef (poisonniere), you really need to be able to stand the smell of fish on your fingertips all the time. Some had suggested to me to rub my fingers on a lemon skin. Well, that might help. But to tell you the truth, I really love Fish so much. The smell doesn't bother me. When you get used to a certain smell, you can no longer smell it. Strange hur?

Now, I'm no longer a chef. Not retired but forced by circumstances to give up my career in chefhood. It still did not deter my passion in cooking. And cooking fish. Whenever I'm going to cook fish for the day, I will be so excited. The many possibilities of cooking this delicious and nutritious food swimming in my head.

The whole process of cooking the fish is fun but what most of the people hate (after cleaning fish) is pan-frying the fish. The scariest part of the whole process for beginners is introducing the raw fish into the pan. The kind of scenario that one associates with fireworks can be seen here. Blobs of hot oil hissing and jumping (yes for most of the time) towards your face! All right. Calm down. Don't be afraid. I'm going to provide you with some cooking tips that may help you overcome the fear of frying the fish.

  • Dry the raw fish with kitchen towels (ah yes our beloved disposable kitchen towel). They are really a blessing to the people who cook. No matter how much the environmentalists will hate me for saying this.
  • Coat your fish with flour (any type). You may season the flour if you wish to have a more flavourful finish. Dust off the excess by patting gently on the fish.
  • Use a deeper pan. Wonder why Chinese love their woks? Well.. you'll understand why when you are frying your fish. The oils don't go everywhere!
  • Hot oil or not, it doesn't seem to make too much difference. The initial high temperature does help to brown the fish more. You can't achieve this unless you intend to be frying the fish for a long long time.
  • Reduce the heat after placing the fish into the pan. This will prevent too much fireworks.

...Continue frying till you are satisfied with the (golden brown) colour of your fish...

There's couple of things you can do with the leftover oil. They are aromatic. Use it to season your fish soup.

Alternatively add a dollop of butter, squeeze juice of half a lemon over the oil (FIREWORKS! ALERT!), season with Salt & Pepper. Pour over the fish to get sauce meuniere (not exactly it but it's close enough!).


8 comments:

BK said...

Your 'fireworks' really reminded me of the time when I had my hands on frying a fish too. Frightening experience! Lol! And you are right, just have to dry the fish a little before putting it in.

SheR. said...

;)
Yes! Everyone runs away when I'm cooking. I mean after working as a chef for almost a year. Nothing scares me. Even fire. Haha!

Sangeeta Sinha said...

You know how we east Indians start with fish. Wash the pieces thoroughly, apply salt and little turmeric powder, leave for sometime and fry them well. After this, we make the gravy and put these fried fishes, allow the gravy to boil for sometime and garnish with some herbs. Mainly we have fish dishes with rice. By the way, tomorrow I will be posting an article on herbs used in Indian cooking. Please take a look and give your comments. It will be appreciated.

SheR. said...

Oh Sangeeta! That's what I've been telling everyone about Indian cuisine! You are all like wizards of spices! You know how to use those miracle flavourings to the max! I like Indian food. So gorgeous. Sure Sure I'll pop over!

Amelia said...

Ginger! Ginger is thy smelly fish's saving grace. :)

Does your miao yearn after it? :P

Amelia

SheR. said...

Ah... yes it is. And wine too! Don't forget.

Lotus Flower said...

Fish is super but I like them steamed or broiled. Sorry:-( with lots of lemon combined with light soy sauce as dip.

I am not sure if you're familiar, we have our local fish called Milkfish or 'bangus' which delivers honest to goodness 'fire-crackerry' qualities. I believe, no amount of flour can reduce its 'explosive'
nature:-)I should know :-)Precisely, it is seldom fried.

Cheers!

SheR. said...

I heard of the Milkfish.
Honestly, my mum doesn't fry fish too as we love our fish steamed.
I will take note about not frying Milkfish! Cheers!