Best way to cook

Nutritional value: Low in fat and high in iron

Pan-frying

You can choose to fry your fish as is or cover it in flour or breadcrumbs. Using the extra coating will give your fish more texture and body. If you’re going to dip it in flour, soak the fish in a bowl of milk for 3 to 5 minutes, before covering it in flour or breadcrumbs. This will help the coating stick to the fish.

Get your pan ready for frying by pouring a few tablespoons of vegetable oil into it. You can also use clarified butter which will taste great on the fish. Heat the pan until the oil slides around easily. You can splatter a few drops of water in the pan – if the water sizzles, it’s ready for your fish. Place the fish flesh side down in the pan – the side you’ll be presenting to your diner (the non-skin side).

Once your fish is in the pan, slide a spatula gently underneath to prevent it from sticking. Cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes on one side and then flip it. Fish usually cooks for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Use a wide spatula to prevent breaking the fish. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the flesh turns pearly white and flakes easily with a fork. Carefully lift it out of the pan and serve immediately.

Steaming

Steaming is a great cooking method for calorie counters. Steamed fish must be fresh. To ensure your fish doesn’t stick, pour a little cooking oil on a wad of paper towels and wipe the surface of your steamer. Alternatively, you can wrap your fish in foil or even leaves such as spinach or Savoy cabbage.

Most recipes require water for a clean, quick steam or you can use a flavoured liquid to infuse the fish with some fragrance, turning the steaming liquid into a sauce. For quick and easy steamed fillets, it’s recommended to use 8 minutes for 200g medium-thick fillets. You can also calculate the cooking time at 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

The steaming should finish when the fish turns opaque but is still resisting flaking as it will continue cooking when removed from the heat. Serve straight away with prepared vegetables and sauces. A good test with whole-steamed fish is to poke a skewer deep into the centre of the fish and leave for 10 seconds. Then pull it out and press it against your hand – it should feel hot.

Oven baking

Baking fish in the oven enables you to control the cooking temperature and limit how much you handle the fish, preventing it from overcooking or falling apart. Season fillets with pepper, dip in egg and coat in bread crumbs. Preheat the oven to 275°C and line a baking tray (glass or metal) with aluminium foil. Brush with olive oil.

Arrange the individual fish fillets on the baking tray in a single layer. Don’t allow the fish fillets to overlap one another. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 25 minutes or until the fish flakes easily, basting frequently with butter.

PAN-FRIED JOHN DORY

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 x 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless Italian bread
  • 4 6-ounce skinless John Dory fillets
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 130°C. Whisk eggs with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in shallow dish.
  2. Place flour on plate.
  3. Place breadcrumbs on another plate.
  4. Dredge fish in flour; shake off excess.
  5. Dip fish into seasoned eggs, then coat completely with breadcrumbs.
  6. Transfer to baking sheet.
  7. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Add 2 fillets and cook until coating is golden brown and fillets are opaque in centre, about 3 minutes per side.
  9. Using 2 spatulas, transfer to rimmed baking sheet; keep warm in oven.
  10. Repeat with remaining fillets.
  11. Transfer fish to platter.
  12. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

*Recipe provided courtesy of epicurious

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