Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip (Fish And Shellfish) - The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings Blog at - 224725

The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings

Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip (Fish and Shellfish) 
Feb. 26, 2011 9:24 am 
Updated: Apr. 8, 2011 6:38 am
I'm on a visit to California to see my recently engaged nephew (and his future bride) and am having some fantastic seafood in the Bay area. 

So, I thought I'd tap the collective AR wisdom concerning fish and seafood.  How do you determine if it's fresh?  What is the best way to store it?  What are your secret seasonings, preparations, sauces, etc.?  What's the best cooking techniques to get the best results? (Broiling, baking, steaming, poaching, stir fry, grilling, frying, deep frying)

Looking forward to your tips. 

Learning something new everyday!  THANKS

All the best,
Marvel's Best Paella
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Marvel's Juiciest Salmon
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Marvel'sJapanese Fried Oysters
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Ready for some wine & garlic!
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Feb. 26, 2011 9:44 am
If you have the pan warmed up and the butter slowly melting and suddenly that darn little fish looks up and starts begging for it's life, then it's fresh!
Feb. 26, 2011 9:48 am
Marvel, your paella is absolutely gorgeous! What nice pics. Since I live in a "landlocked" city, there is no such thing as truly fresh fish and seafood here. Everything, even in the highest end markets, has been previously frozen. Because of that, I only buy seafood or fish on or the night before preparation, and only from a few markets in this area. Keep bloggin'!
Feb. 26, 2011 10:14 am
LOL, Carrie, I think you spent too much time in Japan! Live fish :)
Feb. 26, 2011 10:14 am
Sorry Saveur, I grew up in Iowa so fresh fish was caught by the family :) The paella was for a special birthday... I've the recipe listed in my personal files here.
Feb. 26, 2011 10:15 am
Great pictures Marvel! We love fresh steamed clams. My prep is simple, (we share about 50 Little Necks). In a big pot, saute about 4 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil until lightly golden, pour in enough white wine to cover bottom of pot, throw in a handful of freshly chopped parsley, and then add clams, put on a lid and steam clams on low heat until just opened. You could add butter to the broth if you would like, but usually we don't. So good with fresh crusty bread!
Feb. 26, 2011 5:46 pm
If you get more clams then you need (eg Costco) for one meal, you can keep them alive in seasalt water in the frigerator. I leave them in it for a day, then drained for a day. I've done this for almost a week with no losses!
Feb. 26, 2011 5:54 pm
I do the same as J Pyeweed, except I put fresh ice on every day..
Feb. 27, 2011 7:43 am
Non-fish but good tip from: Baking Nana Feb. 27, 2011 7:41 am Here is a tip when baking bread with WW flour. Mix the whole wheat into the liquid & yeast mix it well and let it soak (hydrate) then proceed as normal - WW tends to suck up more water than white - so letting it hydrate (I would say about 20 -30 minutes) then add the rest of your flour.
Feb. 27, 2011 8:05 am
Tip from: lutzflcat Feb. 27, 2011 7:49 am I always have frozen peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer. Recently picked up a tip that I think really works. Put the defrosted shrimp in a colander in the sink, sprinkle generously with salt, let sit for about 15 minutes, and then rinse well. This firms and plumps up the shrimp and adds just a little bit of briny flavor.
Feb. 27, 2011 8:09 am
Hi, Clams. cheers. Rinse Clams in cold water, place in large bowl, sprinkle with salt, cover with water and soak for about 1 and a half hours; can change water every half hour. Discard water, rinse and drain clams;
Feb. 27, 2011 8:10 am
Hi, mussels. cheers. Clean the mussels with a soft brush or a bit of the green scrubbing cloth for doing dishes, removing any dirt, barnacles and the beard. Remember the beard. Discard any open or damaged. Place in a bowl, cover with water and soak for an hour or two. Change water during process.
Feb. 27, 2011 8:12 am
Hi, Raw Prawns. Always remember to shell and devine them as required. Remove shell,slice open the back and remove the dirt sac. easy. taste much better and no dirt. cheers.
Feb. 27, 2011 8:16 am
Hi, easy way to cook salmon, trout, rosada,etc. Fill large frying pan with water, salt, touch of chopped herbs of choice, dill, marjoram, parsley, chives, all soft flavour, bring to boil, put in fish fillets, cover and simmer, poach, for 10 to 15 mins depending on thickness etc. easy and gorgeous. cheers.
Feb. 27, 2011 9:23 am
If fish tastes "fishy" to you here's a tip from: Patty Cakes Feb. 27, 2011 8:51 am Try seasoning the fish with Old Bay seasoning. Excellent flavor! Squeeze lots of lime too!
Feb. 27, 2011 9:24 am
Mother Ann Feb. 27, 2011 8:42 am fresh fish should never smell "fishy". Tilapia is a good, mild fish to eat. You can marinate it in a teriyaki marinade and then cook in a skillet which would hide the fish flavor somewhat. Also, anything with lemon in it would help to take away any odor.
Feb. 27, 2011 10:24 am
Answered by: hazelnut Feb. 27, 2011 9:37 am Also marinating fish in buttermilk for an hour or two will get rid of most of the fishy taste and smell.
Feb. 27, 2011 9:19 pm
For a simple pan fry, rinse fish filets and pat dry with paper towels, coat both sides with a light coating of seasoned flour. Fry on high heat in olive oil... serve immediately with fresh lemon and parsley.
Feb. 27, 2011 9:21 pm
Here's a super simple way to cook salmon...
Feb. 28, 2011 1:31 am
Hi, from yesterday, famous classic sauce for fish dishes. cheers. Beurre Blanc 2 large Shallots - finely chopped (although mild onions will do) 100ml White Wine Vinegar 100ml dry White Wine 6 ½ oz Unsalted Butter - cut into small cubes and chilled Salt and Pepper. Plus I added small amount finely chopped Chives or can use some Lemon Zest. In a heavy based pot, cook shallots, vinegar, wine and, if using chives or lemon zest, over med/high heat and reduce to 2 tbsp liquid; Turn down heat to low and whisk in butter bit by bit to smooth consistency; Add seasoning and serve immediately.
Feb. 28, 2011 1:41 am
Re above. cheers.
Feb. 28, 2011 2:28 am
Hi, a tasty sauce for grilled and/or pan fried fish.cheers. 30g/10z bottled or canned Red Pimiento – drained and finely diced 250g/8oz Homemade or Good Quality Readymade Mayonnaise 80g/2 ¾ oz Tomato Sauce (Ketchup) In a small bowl, put the Mayonnaise and the Tomato Sauce and combine together well; Mix in the pimiento; Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Also delicious as a dip.
Feb. 28, 2011 2:29 am
Hi, and another. cheers. Tartare Sauce 30g/1 oz Capers – drained and finely chopped 60g/2oz small Gherkins – drained and finely chopped 250g/8oz Homemade or Good Quality Readymade Mayonnaise 1tbsp or to taste Flatleaf Parsley – finely chopped OPTIONAL – Lemon Juice; Shallots – finely diced; Chives – finely chopped (I often use touches of all 3) In a small bowl, mix the capers and gherkins into the mayonnaise; Add the parsley and, if using, the other ingredients, to taste. Can serve immediately or cover with clingfilm and chill in fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
Feb. 28, 2011 7:26 am
Hi, for me it's gherkins in vinegar. slightly sweet i suppose. never tried or used dill. I think, as quite strong tasing may interfere a bit with the natural taste. Gherkins. Cheers.
Feb. 28, 2011 7:35 am
Answered by: laughingmagpie Feb. 28, 2011 7:28 am I use my turkey roaster on the gas BBQ, I butter the bottom of the pan place portioned halibut in it, season with salt and pepper and cover with tin foil... place is on the preheated grill hot as possible and wait a couple minutes to hear the butter sizzle then pout a bottle of wine into the pan at one corner, recover and close the BBQ cook for 3 minutes then turn off BBQ leave fish to finish cooking in the pan for 4 minutes longer.
Feb. 28, 2011 10:48 am
When I boil shrimp (for 2 lbs), I use 2 bags of Zatarains Seafood Boil,1 whole fresh lemon, juice and rinds, 2 tsp. cayenne, and 2 tsp cajun seasoning. Throw all this in your cooking water, bring to a boil and add shrimp. Everyone says that my boiled shrimp is not your "plain, everyday boiled shrimp". We love it!
Mar. 2, 2011 9:44 am
If fish smells fishy, soak in milk for a couple hours...
Mar. 3, 2011 4:31 am
Have smaller less expensive shell fish check out our profile for the recipie for seafood crepes. The mild sauces do not cover up the taste of the shrimp. Not too rich.
Mar. 4, 2011 4:14 am
A tip for keeping lettuce fresh from: Answered by: Jennifer Mar. 3, 2011 9:06 pm I wash each piece in cold water, put in ziploc in between two paper towels. It will last in crisper for a week + ! Way longer than the bagged store lettuce. Totally worth it!
Mar. 4, 2011 2:07 pm
Fish should NEVER smell fishy, look at the eyes if its a whole fish (best way to buy) they should be clear and not sunken in at all. The flesh should be firm to the touch. Salmon, halibut, cod and other bottom/rock fish are my expertise ;) The most common mistake is overcooking. Stop before you think it is done (I tell people what they think is almost raw)It will cook more just to prefection, it flakes easily and is moist and yummy!
Mar. 4, 2011 5:14 pm
Love mussels? after salt bath and thorough cleaning, put 2 lbs in a pan with a can of diced tomatoes, plain or seasoned- i prefer the italian seasoned one. add a pat or two of butter. cook on high heat til shells open. tomatoes & mussel juices combine for a great dipping sauce for crusted bread. This fast, easy, 3 ingredient recipe makes anyone look like a great chef!
Mar. 5, 2011 5:39 am
For shrimp and lobster, if it smells like ammonia, its not fresh!
Mar. 6, 2011 6:43 pm
Thaw frozen shrimp in salt water to help plump them up. I buy shrimp that have the shells still on but have been cleaned and de-veined: they're a breeze to cook on a skewer (the shell holds them together and makes flipping them easier) and once thawed the shells are easy enough to take off if I'm making shrimp scampi or something. We like a mix of 2 tablespoons butter (melted), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and crushed red pepper to taste. Combine the ingredients and brush over your shrimp while grilling. Yum!
Mar. 9, 2011 12:04 pm
Thaw shells-on shrimp. Place in cooking pot and season generously with Old Bay, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and any other flavors you wish. Stir and let sit for 15-20 min. to let the flavors meld(they are still chilled from just thawing). Cook on high with lid on for about 2 min. Shrimp should be 1/2 to 3/4 pink already. Stir completely, replace lid and cook another 1 min. and remove from heat. Wait about 5 min. and remove lid and stir. Shrimp should be done, but not overcooked. NO WATER or other liquid is added, but you will have a wonderful shrimp stock from the water released from the shrimp.
Mar. 11, 2011 5:32 am
When poaching fish fillets, make sure there is extra liquid covering them as they tend to curl when cooked.
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Marvel's Kitchen

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About Me
Marvel is my mother's name and her kitchen is where I started learning to cook. It should also be Gramma's kitchen, Auntie Jean's, Auntie Phil's, etc. Still learning from friends, family and you all. Many thanks and all the best!
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