Baked fish is easy to cook and lends itself to a variety of
flavorings. As fish is more delicate than meat, take special care not to
over-cook baked fish or it will become hard and dry.
Choose: Medium-sized, whole fish with firm flesh (e.g. mullet,
trout or herring). Fillets or cutlets of cod, halibut, haddock and
similar-textured fish, are also good for baking.
Basic method: Season the fish with herbs, garlic, lemon juice
or black pepper, according to your taste. Place in a lightly greased
shallow casserole. If you like, add finely sliced onion, a bay leaf and
herbs. Pour in about 125-250ml (4-8fl oz) of liquid (depending on the
amount of fish); low-fat milk or a mixture or low-fat milk and water is
ideal. Bake, covered, in the oven at 180C/ 350F/ gas 4 for 15-20
minutes, depending on the size of the fish. Baste the fish a few times
with the cooking liquid while it is cooking. The fish is done if it
flakes easily when separated with a fork.
Note: A good way to keep baked fish moist is to wrap it in foil. Try
fish in foil.
This means cooking in hot oil or fast. Most foods will absorb a
significant amount of oil when fried, so we do not recommend this
cooking method for the serious athlete.
Grilling or Barbecuing
This is a dry-heat cooking method. Take special care not to over-cook
grilled fish as it will become hard and dry. Frequent basting with
marinade helps prevent this.
Choose: Small whole fish, such as sardine, whiting, or
mackerel. Also excellent are fillets, cutlets or steaks of tuna, cod,
plaice or sole.
Basic method: Using whole fish, score the skin diagonally
across the sides in a few places. Season fish to taste - lemon juice,
ginger, soy sauce, herbs and black pepper are good flavorings. If you
like, brush with a marinade. Arrange fish 10-12cm (4-5 in) below the
preheated grill or; if barbecuing, 30cm (12 in) above glowing coals.
Grill fish slowly, turning once during cooking. Baste frequently with
marinade or lemon juice.
Allow: 8-10 minutes for fish fillets, cutlets or kebabs; 10-15
minutes for small, whole fish; 30-35 minutes for whole large fish.
The fish is gently simmered in a little liquid in the oven or on the
Choose: For a special event, poach a whole, medium-sized fish,
such as sea trout or a small salmon. Fillets or cutlets, such as
haddock, plaice or cod are also good choices.
Basic Method: place the fish in a shallow saucepan or
casserole. Add sufficient cold liquid - water, tomato juice, fish stock
or a mixture of milk and stock - to barely cover the fish. Season with
black pepper and herbs such as thyme and oregano. If desired, add a bay
leaf and sliced onion or celery to the poaching liquid. Cover and bring
to a gentle simmer - do not boil.
Allow: 5-8 minutes for thin fillets, such as whiting; 10
minutes for thicker pieces; 30-35 minutes for whole fish. Remove cooked
fish from the saucepan and use the cooking liquids as the basis for a
Fish cooked in the steam rising off boiling water.
Look for: Small, whole fish, such as trout. For fillets or
cutlets, try plaice or sole.
Basic method: Season fish with lemon juice, herbs and black
pepper. Fill the bottom half of a steamer with boiling water. Place the
fish on a steamer tier. If you like, you can arrange thin rings of onion
or finely chopped celery or carrot on top of the fish. Cover with a
tight-fitting lid. Steam over rapidly boiling water for 10-15 minutes or
until a fork easily flakes the fish - do not over cook.
Quick Tip: Buy fresh fish fillets in bulk from the market and
freeze individual portions.