Fish is such a wonderful ingredient that is often under-utilised in the household kitchen, and understandably. All sorts of questions often go through the mind such as ‘Which fish should I choose? How do I know if it’s fresh? Do I cook this fish on low heat or high heat? How do I know when it’s ready?
Hopefully this article will help to answer some of those questions, as well as outline the numerous health benefits of fish. The Chef has also included a quick and easy recipe that you can use either for a quick healthy dinner, or to wow your friends and family for lunch or dinner.
- The best place to purchase your fish from is the local fish shop. It is usually fresh and straight off the boat. They also know their product well and can offer you advice.
- Regardless of where you purchase fish from, always ask the person serving you if you can smell the fish before purchasing. Have a smell, and if it smells ‘fishy’ choose another one. If it has no smell, or only a very faint smell of the sea, then it’s perfect.
- Fish should not be slimy
- The eyes of the fish should be nice and clear, not cloudy.
- Use fish straight away after purchasing, or freeze to be able to use later.
- When you order fish in restaurants, take note of how they cook it, what it looks like, what flavour combinations they use and ask the waiter what ‘type’ of fish they have served. This will all increase your fishy knowledge.
- Cook fish that is not marinated on high heat for a short time. Cook marinated fish on low heat for a longer time.
- You will know when fish is ready as it turns from being clear to opaque (cloudy colour).
- Salmon, coral trout and tuna can be slightly raw in the middle if you wish.
- Fish is high in protein. Protein is a macronutrient known to keep us full or ‘satiated’. It also is necessary for growth and repair of every single one of the cells in our body. You might be familiar with protein being able to build big muscles in the gym, but just as importantly it is responsible for growing new hair, new skin, finger nails, organ cells, immune cells and blood cells.
- Fish is low in fat when compared to meat. It therefore makes it a great ingredient to keep that waistline under control.
- Fish is low in saturated fat.
- Oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, herring, anchovies and mackerel are high in Omega 3 oils, vitamin A and also Vitamin D.
- Omega 3 oils are known to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, help to improve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also beneficial for hair, skin and nails.
- The people who inhabit the Japanese island of Okinawa have the highest life expectancy in the world, and the highest number of centenarians (people who live to 100 years or above). It is believed this is largely due to the high amount of oily fish they consume in their diet.
- The Australian Heart Foundation recommends 2-3 serves (150 grams per serve) of oily fish per week.
Recipe – Salmon Skewers
- 150 grams Salmon (or tuna) per person
- Bamboo skewers – available from all supermarkets
- Cut the fish into 2cm x 2cm x 2cm cubes.
- Soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes to prevent them from burning.
- Thread fish onto a bamboo skewer.
- Rub fish with olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Using high heat on either a BBQ or a saucepan , cook for 2 mins each side. Flesh should turn pink.
- For rare fish, cook for 1 minute each side.
- Serve with a wedge of lime
- Greek salad
- Asian noodle salad
- Rice and asian greens
- Japanese mayonnaise, kimchi and rice.
- Wasabi, rice and greens.
- Marinade the fish for 1 hour in equal quantities of soy and honey for asian flavours. Cooking time and heat will be less, as mentioned above.
- Thread vegetables onto the skewers such as capsicum, onion, zucchini. Alternate between fish and vegetable when threading onto skewer.
- Serve with our Summer Salad with Pickled Ginger
Stay happy and healthy….The Nutrition Guru and The Chef.