A Fine Kettle of Fish


Fish has a bad reputation. While it is delicate and delicious, some people fear fish is tricky to prepare. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Fish has a bad reputation. While it is delicate and delicious, some people fear fish is tricky to prepare. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are many fish recipes as fast and easy as broiling a steak. You do not need great skill to finesse a fish to sizzle from cookware to tableware.
Here are some fool-proof tips: To sear fish, preheat the broiler, grill or the oil in the saute pan. To cook evenly, turn fish frequently. Fish is ready when its flesh is flaky when poked with a knife point.
If you are jittery about seafood, start with fillets and steak fish, such as sal­mon or tuna, which are ready in minutes.
Once you’ve conquered preparing fish in small pieces, you can tackle a whole fish — complete with a head, tail and bones.
While cooking a fish in its entirety may sound daunting, it is less effort than roasting a chicken. Besides, there is no seafood moister than a whole fish.
April is the perfect time to give fish a chance. As winter loosens its grip, sea­food is a lighter, quicker option than brisket and short ribs.
Creamy Dijon Sauce
If desired, serve any of the recipes below with this piquant sauce.
4 Tbsps. light mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1⁄2 tsp. light soy sauce
Place the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a spoon until well combined.
Serves 4.
Grilled Tuna
kosher salt to taste
2 pieces of tuna (1⁄2 lb. each),
about 1 and 1⁄2-inches thick
1-2 Tbsps. olive oil
Sprinkle salt on the top and bottom of tuna. Coat a ridged griddle with olive oil. Place griddle on a stovetop and turn the flame to medium-high. Preheat griddle until piping hot.
For rare tuna: Place tuna on the griddle and grill for 11⁄2 minutes. Flip tuna, placing the top side down and grill for another 11⁄2 minutes. Using tongs, sear the edges briefly until just cooked.
(If a red center is too rare for your taste, continue grilling and flipping, until tuna is more well done.)
Serve immediately.
Serves 2.
Broiled Salmon Steaks With Basil
nonstick vegetable spray
2 center cut salmon steaks (1⁄2 lb. each) 
2 tsps. dry white wine
1⁄4 tsp. garlic powder
1⁄2 tsp. dried basil leaves
kosher salt to taste
Set the broiler shelf on a top rung. Preheat oven to broil. Coat broiler pan with no stick spray.
Drizzle half of the wine over the tops of both salmon steaks. Sprinkle on half of the garlic powder, basil leaves and salt.
Turn over and place the seasoned side down on the prepared broiler pan. Season the top side with the remaining, wine, garlic powder, basil and salt.
Place under the broiler. Leave the oven door slightly ajar. Broil the top and bottom sides for four minutes a piece. Flip salmon steaks again and broil for 3 minutes.
Turn once more and broil for 2 minutes, or until exposed surfaces are sizzling and edges are brown. Serve immediately.
Serves 2.
Asian Fusion Filet of Sole
2 pieces of filet of sole (about 1⁄4 lb. each)
kosher salt to taste
6 Tbsps. olive oil, or more, if needed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) available in supermarkets
1 egg, beaten in a medium-sized bowl
16 capers, drained
lemon wedges, optional
Rinse the sole under water. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle filets with kosher salt.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet on a low flame. Add the garlic and stir occasionally for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, place a dinner plate on the counter next to the skillet and pour the panko onto the plate. Place the bowl of beaten egg next to the panko plate. Roll filets one at a time in the panko until coated.
Submerge in the egg and return to the panko to coat again. When filet is thoroughly covered in panko, move it to the skillet. Repeat with the second fillet. Do not remove the garlic, unless it turns dark brown.
Raise the flame to medium. Saute until crunchy brown, about 8 minutes. With a wooden or plastic spatula, turn the fillets and saute until equally crunchy, another 8 minutes.
Move to a platter and dot each fillet with 8 capers. Place lemon wedges around the edges of the platter, if using.
Serves 2.
Sizzling Sea Bass (or Pompano)
This recipe calls for the whole fish. Tell the fish monger to clean the fish, keeping the head, tail and bones intact.
nonstick vegetable spray
1 and 1⁄2 lbs. whole sea bass or pompano
1 Tbsp. olive oil
kosher salt to taste
Coat the broiler pan with the nonstick spray. Set broiler shelf on a medium-high rung — not the top rung. Preheat broiler.
Rinse the fish under cold water, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. With the tip of a sharp knife, score the skin on the top and bottom sides a couple of times. Do not cut through or tear the skin.
Drizzle oil on the fish skin, including the head and tail. Sprinkle with salt inside and out. Place fish on the prepared broiler pan and move to the broiler. Keep the oven door slightly ajar.
Turn the fish after 4 minutes, using a wide plastic or wooden spatula (metal tears fish skin). Turn every 4 minutes, until both the top and bottom sides have been under the broiler twice.
Skin should be sizzling and browned in places. The inside should no longer be pink. Flesh inside should be flaky when poked with the point of a sharp knife.
Place on a platter and serve immediately.
To carve: Using a sharp knife, trim off the edge of the spine (on the side of the fish opposite where the cavity opens). Cut off the head and tail. (In Mediterranean countries, the head is considered a delicacy.)
Make a vertical cut in the center of the fish, dividing the top side in half. Gently ease those two fillets onto a platter.
With the knife point, lift the spine, which should pop out in one piece, and discard. Cut the remaining fillet in half.
Serve immediately.
Serves 2.


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