This guest blog is written by the Danish chef and fish gastronomist Rasmus Bredahl. Rasmus has a fantastic colorful Instagram-account that you can visit here.
Denmark is one of the countries with the longest coast line compared to its size. There are so many different delicious species in our oceans, streams and lakes. Still we rarely eat fish and export the best we catch to other countries. There are many reasons for this but I think the most common is that most of us simply don’t know how to handle and cook fish.
I hope that the following 5 fish tips to will help you enjoy the Danish fish species even more in the kitchen and on your dinner table.
- The fresher the better!
A fresh fish should have a bit bulging eyes, red gills and firm meat. Most important it should smell of ocean and NOT of fish. When the fish have been filleted then it should be firm, not slimy and still smell of ocean.
Fish should be kept cold and preferably between 0-2 Celsius. A warmer temperature will shorten the durability. Put the fish in the back of your fridge. Or even better on some ice cubes.
Danish fish have a mild taste and this play along well with marinades, spices, lemon and similar. Dip your fillets in curry, paprika or tandoori spice before you fry them.
Because of the meat structure then fish is easy and fast to cook. But fish is also a bit sensitive, so make sure to have all other dishes ready and then cook the fish as the last thing you do. Fish tastes best if it is a little bit raw in the middle so make sure that it is not overcooked.
- Cooking fish whole: Fish becomes juicier if you cook it whole. Make a cut through the skin and put it in a baking pan. Fill up the belly with lots of fresh herbs, lemon and butter. Cover with baking paper that has been added moisture under the cold faucet. Bake it in the oven on 150 Celsius until you can easily separate the meat from the bones.
- Grilling: The grill needs to be very hot and the fish should be grilled on both sides with a bit of oil. Wait with turning the fish until it has been grilled thoroughly, then it will be much easier to get off the grill. If you are grilling fish for many people then you can make do with grilling the fish only on one side and bake it in the oven afterwards for a couple of minutes.
- Frying: Heat up your pan with a bit of olive oil with some garlic and thyme. Put the fish on the pan and fry it a couple of minutes on both sides.
- Steaming: Put the fish in an ovenproof dish with a bit of butter on the top and some white wine, broth or herbs in the bottom. Cover it up with baking paper or tin foil and bake it 5-8 minutes at 140-150 Celsius. Afterwards then cook up the juice in the bottom with cream, mustard and some fresh herbs. Serve it all instantly.
Most of the fish we buy are the same species and mostly salmon, cod and plaice (rødspætte). But why is it so? And why are some species finer and more pricy than others? Part of the explanation is simple snobbery. A simple dab (ising) tastes as good as a plaice. Haddock and Pollack taste just as delicious as cod. There are so many gastronomic adventures swimming around in Denmark.
NOW GO OUT THERE AND BUY SOME DELICIOUS FISH!