Never ever cook a fish frozen or stone cold. If you tend to cook a fish you have just remove from the fridge, which is too cold, it will be cooked unevenly and a slightly longer time will be required to cooked it. Here is what you need to do for a frozen fish.
- Thaw the frozen fish in the chiller section of your fridge, might take a day or two.
- If you are in a hurry, defrost it with its original wrapping by submerging it into a bowl of water (room temperature, never use hot water). This method would limit the juice loss that would affect the loss of the fish original flavor.
- Make sure it is completely thawed.
- Roughly rinse with tap water, pat dry with paper towel and prepare for cooking.
Always ask the fishmonger to prepare it for you, as the descaling process tend to make a mess in your kitchen. Not to mention that even a few tiny bits of the scale will leave a fishy smell in your kitchen. However if you insist to prepare it on your own or someone gave you a beautiful fish that you will need to prepare on your own, here is how;
- Descaling a fish will require a tool – fish descaler or some called it fish scaler. It can be a professional descaler tool or the back of the knife, a fork, or a blunt knife.
- Hold the fish firmly with a piece of towel (prevent slip).
- Then remove the scales with the descaler at 45 degrees and moving it against the direction of the scale which is towards the direction of the head.
- If the fish is going to be cooked without the skin, descaling is not necessary.
Trimming the fish improves the overall presentation and also makes it easier to be handle. Simply cut the fins with a pair of scissors. However, do not over-trim the fish as the fins also work in holding the flesh of the fish together during cooking.
The best way to gut a fish is through its belly. Here is how with an illustration. (Please note all the photos are outsourced, hence the differences in the photos)
In order to have a clean fillet of fish, make sure your workstation is well cleaned and the fish is gutted.
- Rinse the fish well under running water, double-check for unwanted matters – fish scales, guts, blood vessels in the guts, etc.
- Rest the fish on the chopping board.
- Cut along the middle of the back from tail to the top of the head.
- Separate the flesh from the backbone by simply running your knife along the bone.