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Fish Cooking Tips


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Here are some great tips on the handling & cooking of fish.

I have compiled them from various sources and most are useful tips

on the best way to prepare and cook fish.

Cheers & Bon Apetit,



How to test if fish fillets are cooked

To test if your fish fillet is cooked, place a rounded knife into the thickest part of the flesh then carefully place knife to your lip. If the knife is quite warm, the fish is cooked and if the knife is still cold then cook for a little longer. This prevents the fish being pulled apart to test. Don't forget that fish will keep on cooking for a few minutes after it has been removed from heat so don't be tempted to cook it for too much longer. Most fish is perfect when just coked through, but salmon and tuna are best when still a little rare in the middle.

Never overcook fish.

Remove it from the heat when "just done" and the internal heat will finish off the cooking. "Just done" means the flesh has turned from translucent to opaque.

Tuna and Atlantic salmon are best served while still rare in the centre.

Overcooking molluscs toughens them.

Handling & Storage

Remember to keep the keep fish cool whilst transporting it by using a styrene box with a lid and several freezer blocks or bagged ice. Rinse fish in cold water (preferably sea water) and dry.

Wrap in foil, or cling wrap or place on paper towel in covered container and storing in refrigerator.

Fish will keep in the refrigerator for a few days but is best used promptly.

If you find that the breadcrumbs are not sticking to the fish, add a little cooking oil to the egg before beating.

If you love fish, but can not stand the smell, try adding a tablespoon of vinegar and a bay leaf to the cooking pot.

Storing Fish

Fish should not be stored for longer than 36 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove fish from any plastic wrappings (unless about to be frozen.

Fish should be loosely packed if stored in the refrigerator.


Wipe fish with a clean damp cloth and pat dry the cavity and skin.

Using a sharp knife cut 3 or 4 diagonal 3-6mm deep slits on each side of the fish. Cut slightly deeper toward the front fin of the fish. The slits will help the fish to cook more evenly throughout.

Brush the inside of the fish with olive oil and season the inside and outside with salt and pepper.

If using a marinade,only marinade fish for about 20-30 minutes, otherwise acid will cook the fish.

Lay the fish directly onto the barbecue grill, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Cooking times will vary according to the weight and thickness of the fish and the number of burners used.

After the fish is close to done on one side, flip it over. A tip for flipping fish on the grill is to flip it onto a non-used portion of the grill to help ensure that the surface of the fish sears to seal in the flavours.

Only turn fish fillets once - flipping will cause the fish to break up.

Fish cooked wrapped in foil makes it easy to handle but does not give the crispy surface that you get from the grill.

Tips to cooking great fish fillets on a BBQ

Ensure that your barbecue has preheated for at least 10 minutes before cooking. Preheat on SEAR then reduce heat to desired temperature.

Barbecue should be oiled before cooking.

Lightly coat the fillets in a little oil and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

The time taken to cook a fish fillet will depend greatly on the thickness of the fillet.

Place fillets onto the hot grill. Do not attempt to move the fillets for at least a few minutes; this will only break up the fillet. Once the fish has formed a crust on the bottom and the colour of the fillets has started to change on the sides you can turn it over.

Thin fish fillets (approximately 5mm-20mm) should be cooked on MEDIUM/SEAR heat on both sides. Thicker fillets (from 25mm) should be cooked on a higher heat to begin, then once turned, reduced to a lower heat or placed onto warming rack to finish cooking.

Use a thin metal spatula and tongs to carefully turn the fish over. Only turn once.

Cook fish until almost cooked. Fish such as tuna or salmon can be cooked so that it is still medium to rare on the inside. Don’t forget that fish will keep on cooking for a few minutes after being removed from heat so don’t overcook it.

A good way to tell if your fish is cooked through is to place a small knife into the thickest part of the fish. If the knife feels warm to touch then the fish is cooked. If it is cool then cook for a little longer. The colour of the fillet will have turned from being transparent to an opaque colour.

Not all fish fillets are appropriate for the grill plate of the barbecue. For flaky fish such as ling or perch, cook on the fl at plate or cook in foil. Check with your fish monger for suitability. Fish should be cooked presentation side first. If you desire a crispy skin for example, fish such as barramundi, snapper or salmon cook the skin side of the fillet on the fl at hot plate first until the skin is crisp then turn over

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