The preparation of fish

Thousands of fish species exist in the sea and freshwaters. Fresh catch is the most important quality for preparation and enjoyment. Preparing fresh fish requires expertise of the species and craftsmanship – even essential if the fish is eaten raw as in Japanese sushi and sashimi.

© Shutterstock / karelnoppe – tuna and salmon sashimi

Fish has long been processed only preserved

To supply regions far from fishing grounds and ensure quality in transit, fish was once dried, smoked or cured to preserve it. Today, modern transportation and refrigeration equipment allow fresh fish to be consumed anywhere.

Preparing fresh fish requires expertise and skill

Before preparing a whole fish, it must be checked whether it is whole fresh Is. The gills should be moist and bright red, the eyes full, shiny and protruding, the skin pearly, tight and close to the firm and elastic flesh; the scales should lie flat on the skin and shine – but above all the smell should be pleasant.

There are four steps in the preparation process: Scale, Remove fins, Gutting and, if necessary Filleting. The Dandruff usually happens before the removal of the intestines. Because with a taut abdominal wall, this work is easier. To do this, use a special Scale knife or the back of a knife. One hand holds the fish by the tail, the other scrapes off the scales by pulling the tool at a 45° angle from the tail to the head.

Then the fish fins are removed. This often requires protecting hands to avoid injury. Because the fins of some fish species can be sharp or secrete a poison.

There are several methods to remove fish eviscerate. The easiest is to cut open the belly and take out the guts. It is also possible to remove them via a one to two centimeter cut at the level of the gills.

Filleting requires the greatest skill. Becoming of round fish two Fillets, from shallow fish four Fillets cut. The fishmonger makes the cook’s job easier when he does the work himself. Floating fish factories process the fish freshly caught by scaling, gutting, filleting, packing and deep freezing it while still on board.

Instead of a whole fish, fillets, steaks and other fresh or frozen fish parts can also be purchased. Frozen fish thaws best by sitting in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours in its original packaging.

Some special preparation methods

Carp is put in clear water for a few days to erase the mud taste.

The Guts Some fish species have high nutritional value – z.B. is the oil of Cod-Liver rich in important fatty acids and vitamins A and D. The guts of the puffer fish contain a fast-acting deadly poison; they must be removed with extreme care. The tender flesh of this fish is considered a delicacy in Japan.

Sashimi is a Japanese dish of raw fish cut into fine slices. The skill of the cook is shown in the selection, the Dissection and Presentation of fresh fish.

Another Japanese specialty is rolled sushi, Maki Sushi Called, from raw or cooked fish, mollusks, seafood and seasoned rice. These ingredients are rolled into a dried seaweed leaf. Then the rolls are cut. This requires a special Knives necessary, the blade of which is dipped in vinegar water before each cut.

Fish for Lent in Christianity

At Lent, the church requires Christians to abstain from meat. Therefore, fish as a source of protein and fat became the food of the fasting days. This rule was not so much for nutritional reasons as for symbolic ones, and served to focus on prayer and spiritual reflection.

Poissons. 1997. L’encyclopedie des aliments. Paris : editions Fontaine

PAULI, Philip, 2008. culinaire technology. Winterthur : Pauli Fachbuchverlag AG

FLAVIGNY, Laure, 2000. Larousse gastronomique. Paris : Larousse-Bordas

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