Fish Recipes - Making The Best Of Fish

Fish are an amazing natural resource that are an important source of food for people the world over. They are all aquatic creatures (live most of their time in water) have gills and fins and are either harvested from the wild (ie caught by fishing) or are farmed in tanks or large salt-water cages.

Of the many species of fish that humans consume they can range in flavour and texture from delicate fish such as flounder, dace and chubb to firm full-flavoured fish such as tuna, swordfish and shark.

Fish represent a source of high-quality low fat (and generally low-cost) protein that's very healthy and tasty and for much of humanity fish represents a basic part of the diet and the main protein source. Indeed, following the eruption of Toba 74 000 yers ago when 90%+ of the human population was exterminated sea-fishing off the coast of East Africa may have been the only factor to keep the human race alive.

Fish and fish dishes occur in every human civilization. In the West, however, we under utilize our fish resources relying in the main on a small number of fish species that are vastly overfished. But, when freshwater, saltwater and farmed fish are all considered together fish represent a vast resource that we are under-using. Fish also lend themselves to being preserved by salting, smoking, drying and pickling, which is why fish were such an important storage food in the past (and remain so in parts of Africa and Asia today).

Below is a traditional British recipe for preserving fish by pickling:

Pickled Herring

2kg salt herring (make your own, or you can buy)
3 large onions, chopped
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp paprika
4 sprigs of dill, chopped
6 cloves
6 black peppercorns
12 allspice berries
1l malt vinegar
650g dark brown sugar

Brush any salt from the herring then place in a pan of cold water and soak over night (soak for 30+ hours if using commercial salted herring). Once soaked, discard the water then pat the herring dry and slice into pieces about 3cm wide. Combine with the onions in a bowl then add all the remaining ingredients (except the vinegar and sugar). Toss to combine then set aside to marinate for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

After this time combine the vinegar and sugar in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stuff the herring and the onion and herb mixture into sterilized pickling jars then pour the hot sweetened vinegar over the top. Seal well and store in a cool place, turning at least twice daily to ensure that the vinegar and all the flavours penetrate the fish.

The herring can be eaten after 4 days, but the flavour improves if left for a few days more.

The next recipe is a classic recipe for grilled fish:

Spicy Grilled Grey Mullet

1 grey mullet (about 1.75kg)
2 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt, to taste
flat-leaf parsley to garnish
lemon wedges, to garnish

Add the yoghurt to a bowl and stir-in the paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, olive oil, garlic, black pepper and a little sea salt. Clean and gut the fish then cut deep diagonal slashes about 3cm apart along both flanks of the fish. Rub the yoghurt mixture all over the fish, both inside and out. Make certain plenty of the mixture goes into the gashes you made.

Place in a dish, cover and set in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 40 minutes. Cook the fish under a hot grill for about 6–8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and blackened in places. Serve on a dish, garnished with sprigs of parsley and lemon wedges.

Fish lends itself to cooking by a huge variety of cooking techniques, but the real secret to preparing fish is not to over-cook. Always cook fist to the point at which the flesh just flakes with a fork. This ensures that you have perfectly succulent fish that retains the maximum flavour.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Cooking Seafood:
Healthy Fish Recipes Fish Recipes
About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans runs the Celtnet Recipes website where you can find hundreds of recipes for fish dishes and almost two thousand classic British recipes.