Cooking Fish

Grill
Preheat grill to a medium setting. Some fish will need to be turned halfway through cooking time. Baste white fish during grilling
Shallow Fry
Dust the fish with seasoned flour. Heat the oil and fry the fish turning halfway through cooking.
Poach
Using 70ml (1/8th pint) water and a few drops of lemon juice. Add the fish, simmer gently for the recommended time.
Bake
Preheat oven to 190C/375F, Gas mark 5 (unless otherwise stated). Place the fish in a suitable dish, sprinkle with lemon juice, cover and place in the centre of oven. (Refer to manufacturer's instructions if using fan oven).
Steam
Place the fish between 2 plates or in a steamer over a large pan of boiling water.
Microwave
Time based on 800 Watt microwave. (Refer to manufacturer's instructions.) Place fish in a suitable container, add 2 x 15ml spoons (2 tablespoons) liquid. Cover and cook. Standing time 2-3 minutes after cooking.
Deep Fry
Heat the oil to 180C/350F. Coat the fish in batter or breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown.

Fish is Very Quick to Cook
Fish is fully cooked when it loses its slightly translucent appearance and turns white or opaque in colour. A simple test is to see if a fork or skewer passes easily into the flesh.

Deep Frying
Remember to coat the fish thoroughly to protect the flesh and stop the fish from absorbing too much fat. Dust the fish with seasoned flour or with flour, egg, breadcrumbs, oatmeal or batter. Heat the oil to 180C/350F-190C/375F. Cook for approximately 4-6 minutes and then drain on absorbent kitchen paper before serving.

Shallow Frying
Again, it is important to remember to coat the fish. Use seasoned flour and a small amount of oil for frying - 2-3 tablespoons should be fine. Shallow fry for about 4-5 minutes, turning once.

Grilling
One of the most popular methods of cooking fish, grilling is healthy, quick and simple. Fish should be basted during cooking to prevent drying out and cooking time on a medium heat is usually between 8 to 10 minutes. Small, whole fish or thin pieces of fish can be cooked without turning but do score whole fish at the thickest part to enable the heat of the grill to penetrate. Small cubes of fish on skewers and thicker pieces of fish should be turned during grilling.

Poaching
Poaching involves cooking the fish in, typically, milk, stock, wine, water or cider. All or some of this liquid is usually used to make a sauce. To cook the fish the liquid should always be just below boiling point. Poaching will usually take from about 5 minutes for cubes of fish to 10-15 minutes for thicker pieces.

Steaming
This involves cooking the fish by the heat of the steam between two plates or in a steamer. Because no liquid is required the fish retains much of its original flavour and tenderness. Just add seasoning and a little lemon juice and steam for 5-10 minutes for thin fillets or 15-20 minutes for thicker pieces of fish or whole fish.

Baking
There are two simple ways of baking fish: either place in an oven-proof dish with seasoning and herbs, lemon juice and/or vegetables, then add stock, wine or milk and bake in the oven, or alternatively add herbs and a few tablespoons of liquid to the fish before enclosing in foil.

Small whole fish, fillets, steaks or cutlets can be baked for about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish at 200C/400F (Gas mark 6). Large whole fish should be baked at 180C/350F (Gas mark 4) for about 30-40 minutes.

Barbecuing
Fish is naturally moist so needs little basting, but for extra flavour on the barbecue it can be left to marinade for around half an hour before cooking. If barbecuing a whole fish, slits or slashes at the thickest part will make cooking faster and more even.

Cooking fish in foil parcels will give quick, moist results. Barbecue cooking times are the same for grilling.

Microwaving
The microwave is excellent for cooking fish. Always remember to cover the fish with a lid or microwaveable food wrap. Season after cooking and add less liquid than for other methods of cooking. Cooking time varies according to thickness and quantity but as a rule of thumb 450g (1lb) of fillets would cook in about 4-5 minutes plus 2-3 minutes standing time.