Saturday, October 07, 2006

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

Cook Your Fish By The Inch!

Y'all know that fish is good for you.

Everyone should eat at least two portions of fish per week (one should be oily; Salmon, Trout, fresh Tuna).

Fish is a good source of protein, it contains lots of vitamins and minerals, and it is low in saturated fat. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps reduce the risk of heart disease. All fish contain these oils, but oily fish contain much more of these oils than white (non-oily) fish.

One aspect of cooking fish for beginning cooks is that is difficult to tell when cooked fish is complete. The easiest method is to cook fish using measurements.

Allow roughly ten minutes per inch for the thickest part of the fish and make sure it flakes before removing it from heat. This can apply to all methods of cooking fish, including frying, grilling, steaming, broiling and more.


1 cucumber
4 sprigs parsley
3 tablespoon butter
Salt (to taste)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon capers
4 salmon steaks, 1 1/4-inches thick (about 8 oz each)
Water (for poaching)
Salt (to taste)

Peel the cucumber. Cut it half lengthwise; then, with a spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard them. Cut each half into 3 or 4 lengthwise slices, then cut those long pieces crosswise into dice.

Rinse the parsley, pat dry, and remove and discard the stems. Finely chop the leaves. You should have about 2 teaspoons. Set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small pot. Add the diced cucumber and salt lightly. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the 3 tablespoons of water and the capers and stir to blend. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Cucumbers sometimes need a good dose of salt to bring out the flavor. Stir in the chopped parsley, and remove the sauce from the heat.

Rinse the salmon steaks with cold water and pat dry.

Four salmon steaks should fit into an 11-inch saute pan, or any straight-sided pan about 2 to 3 inches deep, with a capacity of 2 to 3 quarts. Put about 1 1/2 inches of water in the pan, add salt, and stir. Set the pan on a burner turned to high and bring to a boil.

When the water boils, turn the heat down to low, so the water is at a low simmer, or what some like to call a lazy bubble. You want just that bare bit of motion to cook the fish gently.

Put the salmon steaks in the pan, and simmer for about 4 minutes after the water resumes its gentle bubbling. Stand at the stove and spoon the simmering water over the top of the fish so the pieces cook on top as well. The salmon is done when the meat turns from a deep to a pale pink. Use a fork or the point of a knife to poke into the center of a steak; the middle, too, should be that paler pink.

Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the steaks are done. Place on servings plates and spoon the Cucumber and Caper Sauce over the steaks, or serve the sauce separately to be passed at the table.

Poaching -- that is, cooking in gently boiling water -- is a foolproof method for any firm piece of fish cut like a steak and leaves the fish delicate and moist. But you do need a firm fish cut like a steak; a thin fillet would dissolve.

Servings: 4

Source: Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham

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