Fish is nutritious and easily digested, invaluable to an invalid, and almost essential to a brain worker. Use more fish in your household.
It need not be an expensive item, indeed, some of the cheapest kinds are the best. If mackerel were as expensive as salmon, we would esteem it far more than we do. Watch the markets and buy what is plentiful. Fish is at its best when in season and even the most expensive varieties have their cheap times. When there is a glut of soles they can be purchased almost as cheaply as hake or haddock.
Certain fish is expensive because it is in great demand. It is a mistake always to buy those popular kinds. The reason why most people tire of fish is because so few varieties are purchased. Even the kinds bought are generally prepared in the same way.
With fish much depends on the cooking. Believe me, a well-cooked dab is far nicer than badly cooked sole. Then there is the sauce. There is no reason why you should not learn the same secrets. Let us begin right at the beginning with a hint or two about choosing fish.
Freshness is the first essential. Always deal at a reliable shop, but at the same time, learn to judge for yourself. When fish is fresh the gills are red and moist, the eyes are bright and full and the flesh is firm but elastic. If pressed the mark of the finger fades at once.
Spots on plaice should be bright red, they turn greenish-brown when the fish is stale. Never choose thin, ill-nourished looking fish. Thick plump ones are always superior in flavour. This is especially noticeable with such fish as turbot, halibut, and cod.
As a rule fish of medium size are the best purchase. In small fish the bones are too much in evidence, on the other hand very large fish are often course-flavored. The tails of such fish as lobsters, crayfish, prawns, and shrimps are well curled round when fresh. If they are pulled out they will immediately fly back.
When buying a lobster or crab, choose one that is heavy for its size. The flesh of a cock lobster is considered the best, but the hen is more sort after as the spawn (coral it is called) is so useful for enriching sauces and for garnishing.
Mackerel should be bright with a silvery sheen that seems to reflect a rainbow. The cheapest cuts of fish are not always the most economical. Though the prime cuts cost more, every flake can be utilized, whereas, with the cheapest parts often half is wasted.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, also all freshwater fish, should be cooked as soon as possible after being caught. Soak freshwater fish in slightly salted water to remove the muddy taste they often possess.
Frozen fish such as Canadian salmon should be thawed before this is cooked. This can be done by soaking it in cold water for a quarter of an hour.
Enjoy your fish!