6 September 2013

Fish - Mega brain food

Homemade sesame coated fish fingers with sweet potato chips
Having just spent a week in Cornwall and eating the most wonderfully fresh fish, I have carried on at home and fish is making a very regular appearance on our dinning table.

My children love fish. Yes, I am lucky but here luck has had little to do with it. I made sure that my children ate fish from a very young age. As babies they ate fish mashed up with sweet potatoes, flaked up in a cheese sauce with leeks or in a fish pie.

Like most children they love their frozen fish fingers but I more often than not make my own homemade ones.

Many people are put off by fish because of the smell and because they are not sure how to cook it.

Fresh fish does not smell. It only starts to smell once it is going off. 

When buy whole fish,  look out for:
  • bright, clear eyes - dull-eyed fish can be safe to eat but are a couple of days old
  • does the fish look clean and metallic? - if it looks shiny and metallic this is means that the fish is fresh
  • a pungent smell - fresh fish should not have a strong smell

When buying fish fillets, look out for:
  • vibrant flesh - a fish's colour begins to fade with age and the skin should look shiny and metallic
  • no smell - again the fish should not have a strong smell
  • clear liquid - if the liquid on the fish is milky, this is the first stage of decay
If you are worried about bones, you could get the fish monger to fillet it for you and you could feed your kids the tail end of a fillet of fish as there are generally less and smaller bones that end. Also, there are a number of fish that do not contain hard bones:
  • whiting
  • dover/lemon sole
  • tilapia
In my opinion, fish is the easiest food to cook. It hardly takes any time and is very versatile.

I find poaching the easiest way to cook fish. In a pan, pour some milk and add a few pepper corns and a bay leaf. Lay the fillet of fish gently into the milk (ensuring its covered) and on a low heat, simmer the milk. The fillet, depending on its thickness will cook with 5 minutes of the milk simmering.

To fry a fillet, place some oil or butter into a saucepan on a medium. Taking a salmon steak here as an example, lay the steak into the pan skin-side down and fry for around 3 minutes or until you can see the flesh on the bottom turning lighter in colour towards the middle of the steak. Flip over carefully and fry for a further minute. Now turn off the heat and allow it to rest in the pan for 5 minutes with a lid on. It will slowly carry on cooking and have time to rest resulting in all the juices collecting in the pan.

Fish can be very costly. I generally buy fish that is on special offer or that is not so well known. Cod  and haddock generally are much more expensive but always look out for other white fish that can cost up to half the price as the aforementioned. Fish with it's skin on is also cheaper.

Fish is such a great food and tastes mighty good on it's own or covered in sauces and marinades.

Here are some links to some old posts of mine containing this wonderful food for the brain.

mash with fish and sweetcorn

easy fishcake fingers

homemade fish fingers


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