Our Top Tips & Tricks for your Seafood Cook-up
Shell prawns like a pro! Start by pulling off the legs on the underside of the prawn. Then hold the shell from the underside and peel outward. Pinch and slide the tail too or leave it intact. To devein, move your thumb down the length of the back from the head to the tail.
Here is a handy tip to crisp fish. Make use of medium-low heat settings when deep frying your fish. Another tip is to place fish skin-side down in the pan, press down so the skin starts to cook evenly, or it will start to curl out of shape.
Want to keep your fish moist and juicy? Try brushing your fish with mayo before roasting it in the oven. You only need a small amount – add some herbs and spices of your liking to the mayonnaise before spreading evenly.
Avoid crispy seafood from going soggy by substituting paper towels and brown paper bags – or drain your fish on a cooling rack to keep that golden crisp
Take seafood mix out of the freezer for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking for best results. The shock from cold to hot can dry out or cook your seafood too quickly. We don’t want that! We want tasty seafood mix, bursting with flavour.
Got some lemons? Slice your lemons and place them on bottom of your pan and cook your fish on top of that. It not only gives you fish wonderful flavour, but it will also prevent it from sticking to the pan and losing some of that goodness.
Instead of de-boning your fish before cooking it, try de-boning it after it has been cooked. Your fish will cook slower and infuse more flavours into the flesh. Bones enhance the natural flavour of any cooked meat and fish is no different.
MORE COOKING TIPS:
Buy fresh fish from the fishmonger, request it whole or filleted, or don’t be scared to buy frozen seafood either. Once you have bought your fish, make sure you store it properly. If it is not ziplocked/vacuum packed, transfer it to a ziplock and keep it refrigerated to use later or on ice, or freeze it for future consumption. Remember to stick to the SASSI green list to enjoy sustainably sourced fish.
Cook the fish in Parchment paper (*a.k.a Fish en papillote) on a baking tray in the oven with your favourite seasonings/herbs and vegetables. It’s a one-pan meal and easy to clean up! The fish is sealed in its own parchment paper pouch, the fish is essentially steamed and infused with flavor inside a convenient little package. It’s also a method that won’t leave your house smelling like a fish market, one reason why it’s probably our favorite way to cook fish. The fish comes out of the pouch tender and flaky. Fillets or butterflied fish will be about 15 – 20 minutes. This will be quicker with thinner/smaller fillets, trout & salmon.
Veggies like tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, bok choy, and fennel all cook relatively at the same pace as fish so they are a great addition to a one-pan fish dish.
Don’t marinate fish for too long, especially if it is a flakey fish – only marinate it for about 30 minutes max. Use this cheat sheet of marinating times for different fish: https://www.thespruceeats.com/marinating-fish-and-seafood-334331
Pan-Searing Fish Fillets
-Make sure to pat it dry before adding it to the pan
-Make sure the pan has reached medium to hot heat before adding the fish. We would recommend a griddle pan/skillet brought to high heat and drizzled with a bit of olive oil and salt.
-Crispy Skin – make sure a pan can withstand high heat. The important thing to remember is when placing salmon (skin-side down) in the pan, press down so the skin evenly starts to cook, otherwise, it will start to curl out of shape.
-Flip the fish ones. So leave it to cook on one side 70% and then flip once for best results
Cooking Whole Fish:
It’s easier than you think. Roast the whole fish or pop it on the braai. Season it with the spices/herbs that you like on top. You can stuff the cavity with things like lemon slices, herbs, or garlic cloves, then roast it in the oven for 18-20 minutes
Fish Spatula – a simple kitchen utensil that works wonders when you cook your fish!
Testing Fish for Doneness
To test fish for doneness, insert a thin-bladed knife into the flesh at the thickest part. If it’s done, it will be just barely translucent in the center. Even though it might look not quite done, the fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat, so make sure not to overcook it
Our favourite seafood recipes: https://foodloversmarket.co.za/our-recipes/?kw=&rcat=Seafood&rcn=&rcm=
PRAWNS, MUSSELS & CALAMARI:
- Make sure your prawns are cleaned & deveined.
- Pop them on a skewer, add them to a curry, toss them in a pan to grill.
- Remember if the prawns have the shells, remove the shells when you eat them or prior to serving.
- The shells and head add flavour to the prawn dish.
When cooking prawns, one thing to remember is that they cook fast. If using prawns in a stir fry dish, wait until the last minute to add prawn as they will cook in as little as 30 seconds. Other methods, such as breading and frying, prawn can cook in under a minute
Prawns are cooked when they go white/opaque pink. They are a translucent white/grey when they are raw. If they curl up into tiny, tight little O’s, they are overcooked and tough.
Our favourite prawn recipes: https://foodloversmarket.co.za/our-recipes/?kw=prawn&rcat=&rcn=&rcm=
Mussels are an underrated bundle of nutrients, and when farmed they are sustainable. They are high in zinc, iron and vitamins A and B12. A fantastic source of protein, low in calories and low in fat.
- Rinse before steaming, discard any that don’t close.
- Steam your mussels with a small amount of liquid in a pot with a lid.
- In place of water, you can also use wine or beer or other liquids to steam the mussels and add some unique flavour.
- Be careful not to overcook mussels
Our favourite Mussel recipes: https://foodloversmarket.co.za/our-recipes/?kw=mussel&rcat=&rcn=&rcm=
Calamari can come in steaks, tubes, rings, and tentacles. Defrost it properly by leaving in the fridge to defrost, or if you have less time then in a bowl in water. Make sure you do not microwave the calamari to defrost it. Once defrosted, rinse the calamari and pat it dry.
- The tubes can be stuffed, or if they are big they can be sliced into rings, or cooked as is. The only take about 4- 5 minutes.
- The steaks must get tenderized before cooking. Grill for 2 minutes per side.
- The tentacles can be lightly pan-fried with seasoning, or flour-dusted and deep-fried or lightly grilled. About 4- 5 minutes per side.
Our favourite calamari recipes: https://foodloversmarket.co.za/our-recipes/?kw=calamari&rcat=&rcn=&rcm=