Fish: cooking techniques

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One of our most popular dishes is our famous salmon at Copper Canyon Grill! In keeping with this theme, we encourage you to learn some basic cooking methods to create your own healthy fish dishes at home. After all, aren’t we always told to eat fish at least 3 times a week?!

Grilling: probably the quickest and easiest method for cooking fish, grilling imparts a hearty, smoky flavor and delicious blackened edges and striping to fillets and whole fish. It is best for thick (at least half-inch), meaty fillets or steaks with strong flavor that can stand up to the smoky tang of the grill. Swordfish, tuna, salmon, mackerel, and bluefish are ideal choices because their natural oils help keep their flesh moist.

Sauteing: pan-sauteing is a favorite way to cook fillets of fish — especially thin, delicate ones like trout, sole, or flounder. The fillets are quickly cooked in a hot saute pan in very hot fat, leaving them with a crisp exterior and moist flesh inside. Dusting the fillets with a light coating of flour before sauteing will help the fish develop a delicate crust.

Roasting: Fish can be roasted in the same manner as meat – uncovered, with no liquid, in a high-temperature oven – and with similar results: a papery, crisp exterior and tender flesh with concentrated flavors inside. While it’s possible to roast fish fillets, this cooking method lends itself best to whole fish. Stuffing the fish’s cleaned cavity with aromatics, like lemon wedges and whole branches of fresh rosemary and thyme, will perfume the flesh more potently than anything you rub on the outside.

Baking in parchment: a fish cooked en papillote is wrapped in parchment paper, and baked in a medium oven so it gently steams in its own juices. Aromatics, such as dill, sliced onions, and olives, are also enclosed in the package to flavor the fish. When the fish is done, the parchment will puff dramatically.

Steaming: setting fish over simmering water allows fillets of white-fleshed fish like cod and halibut, as well as small whole fish like sea bass, to retain their delicate flavor. You do not need an expensive steamer; a wok with a wire rack and cover works fine.

Poaching: this refers to foods that are gently cooked in water or broth at the barest simmer. Poaching firm-fleshed fish in a liquid flavored with vegetables and herbs provides a rich, fat-free broth that can be served with the fish or reserved to use as a soup base.

Happy cooking!
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