How to Buy & Store Fish
Fish is very versatile and one type can easily be swapped for another in a recipe. When buying whole fish, choose fish with: bright, prominent shining eyes; bright red or pink gills; distinct skin colour and above all a clean fresh ‘sea smell’. Fillets should be translucent with no sign of discolouration.
Our staff will be happy to take on tasks you shy away from. Just ask to have your fish gutted, filleted or boned.
Refrigerate fish as soon as possible after purchase – remember it’s highly perishable and must be kept cool. Ideally, remove the fish from its wrapping and store it on crushed ice cubes on a plate in the fridge. Cover loosely with foil. Replace the ice as it melts. Fresh fish in good condition and properly stored should last a day or two after purchase.
All fish can be successfully frozen. Fresh white fish can be frozen for a maximum of 6 months.
Oil-rich fish is best if used within 3 months. Remember to freeze fish as you intend to use it. For example, cut a whole salmon into convenient portion sizes before freezing. Do not freeze previously frozen fish.
How to Prepare Fish
Preparing fish is easy; however, if you don’t feel up to the task of filleting or skinning fish we will be happy to help.
To prepare whole fish such as salmon or trout it is important to snip out the gills using a kitchen scissors. Also check that no blood remains along the backbone and rinse out the belly cavity with cold running water.
Place the fillets on a board with the tail towards you, with the flesh side up. Using a sharp, flat bladed (not serrated knife) make a small nick backwards through the flesh but not through the skin. This gives you something to grip. Change the direction of the knife and keep both knife and skin flat on the board. Work towards the top of the fillet using a gentle saw-like motion. The skin should come away in one piece.
To remove the bones from round fish fillets (Cod etc) simply cut the ‘V’ shaped piece containing the bones from the top of the fillet. Use a tweezers to remove pin bones from salmon and trout.
Filleting Round Fish
Lay the fish on a board with the back away from you and the head pointing to the left. Lift the gill fin and cut at an angle behind the fin to the top of the head. Hold the fish firmly against the board. Insert the knife at the head end and keeping the knife almost flat cut along the top of the back of the fish to the tail.
About halfway down the fish, near the end of the belly cavity, push the knife blade through and over the backbone. Cut towards the tail keeping the knife as flat to the bone as possible. Lift this part of the fillet up and, using long sweeping strokes and keeping the knife blade almost flat, cut the top half of the fillet free from the rib cage.
Turn the fish over with the head pointing to the right. Insert the knife at the tail end and make a long cut along the top back of the fish towards the head. Lift the gill fin and make an angled cut around the head. Repeat the process as before finishing by cutting the fillet free from the rib cage.
Filleting a Flat Fish
Lay the fish on a board with the head pointing away from you. Cut around the head and down the centre or lateral line of the fish right through to the backbone
Working on the fillet nearest to you, insert the point of the knife under the flesh at the head end. Keeping the knife blade parallel to the bones, slice away the fillet using long sweeping strokes. Remove the other fillet in the same way but turn the fish round so that the tail is pointing away from you and cut from tail to head
Repeat the whole process on the other side to obtain the remaining two fillets, giving you four quarter-cut fillets. (Sometimes only one fillet is taken from each side and these are called cross-cut fillets.)
Boning herring and mackerel
Cut off the fins with a pair of scissors and remove the head by cutting just behind the gills. Slit the fish along the belly and remove the insides with kitchen paper. (At certain times of the year the fish may have roe [egg sacs] inside which may be cooked and eaten too.)
Open the belly out and stand the fish on a board, skin side up. Press down firmly with the fingers along the centre back of the fish.
Turn the fish over and ease the backbone away from the flesh. Cut off at the tail. Remove any small, loose bones. Rinse the fish using cold water and dry on kitchen paper.
How to Cook Fish
Preheat the grill to a medium setting, place fish on a grill tray and cook. Turn larger pieces of fish halfway through cooking.
Heat a little oil in a pan over a medium heat. Turn seafood gently halfway through cooking. Do not turn the fish too often as it may break apart.
Heat the oil to 180ºC / 350ºF. Coat the fish thoroughly in a batter or crumb before cooking. Cook until crisp and golden. Allow fish to drain on kitchen paper.
Place the fish in a steamer, or between 2 plates on top of a saucepan of boiling water. Cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until the fish flakes easily.
Microwave in an 800w oven.
Put the fish in a suitable container. Cover and cook. Ensure that the fish is fully cooked through. Allow to stand for 1 – 2 minutes before serving. Microwave ovens may vary, so adjust cooking times for your individual model.
Place fish onto a suitable ovenproof dish or tray. Cover and place in the centre of the preheated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4. Oven assisted fans will cook fish more quickly.
Fill a shallow pan with liquid to half cover fish. Water, milk, stock, wine or combinations of these are suitable for poaching. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and poach for recommended time.