Butterfly Shrimp like the pros with this easy tutorial
Fresh Fish Buying 101 – Fresh Fish Buying Guide
LEMON ZEST vs. LEMON JUICE
Lemon is the most common flavoring for all seafood. It is the quintessential seafood seasoning there is, plain and simple. But is it better to use the zest (the outside skin of the lemon) or the juice. I guess that all depends on how much flavor or tartness you want to add to your dish. The zest of the lemon is the outermost part of the rind and has the most intense lemon flavor. The white layer underneath is very bitter and not recommended for cooking. Pure fresh squeezed lemon juice has flavor but nothing compared to the zest, but is perfect if you’re looking to add a little pucker factor to balance out spiciness.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT FISH CAKE:
Fishcakes are an example of the perfect “food marriage” This mixture of simple ingredients emits a charm that far exceeds the humble makings of these tasty creations. Fishcakes have evolved from it’s simplistic origins and grown into a culinary delight. Here is in our opinion the best way to make the perfect Fish Cake.
FISH: First is your choice of fish. Back in the days of long ago fish cakes were white fish based the most popular being cod. However while many still enjoy their codfish cakes, like me especially for breakfast with poached eggs, the type of fish you choose is now totally up to you. Smoked fish is increasing in popularity for fish cakes, especially trout and salmon. Crab cakes are also well known and enjoyed but lobster fish cakes is amazing. Fishcakes are so flexible that almost any seafood would do. Note: Take care when using a fish such as Mackerel which tends to be oily. The trick to cooking oily fish is to pan fry them without adding any oil to your pan and let the fish cakes cook on low in their own natural oils.
POTATOES: The next is the spuds (potatoes) you choose. Luckily here on Prince Edward Island we have plenty of spuds and they are fresh and sooo good! The trick here is the type of potato you choose needs to produce a fluffy mashed potato which would leave the Russet out as they are a good baking potato. New potatoes are also not a good choice for fishcakes. The next thing is to make sure to mash the potatoes without milk. I just use a small amount of melted butter. You want to add just enough so the fish cake holds together well but isn’t too mushy. Depending on my preference for texture I will either mash them till creamy with a potato masher or mash them hot with a fork while they’re hot and adding butter a little at a time during the mashing process.
COATING: As for binding I will add a beaten egg to the fish mold them into fish cakes and then flip them in a flour mixed with some fresh lemon zest, cayenne pepper, and just a dash of my Prince Edward Island Seafood Seasonings. Some people also add cream to theirs which I do not recommend unless you are making salmon cakes, and if you do add cream just put in a little so the salmon cakes don’t become mushy. I also do not add flavor directly to my fish. I add it to the flour.
COOKING: Most fish cakes are pan fried but a healthier version would be to bake them in the oven at 350 degrees. Remember if you bake your fish cakes to turn them every 5 minutes to distribute heat evenly.
I also recommend adding no seasonings at all to your flour and use a flavor infused olive oil in your frying pan or baking dish. I buy mine from Liquid Gold in Charlottetown @LiquidGoldCh or found on the web at http://www.allthingsolive.ca They have the highest quality of oils available which is key in cooking! If you want your food to taste great you need to make sure the ingredients you use are of the best possible quality. It is worth every penny you will spend.
The beauty of the fish cake is it how easy it can be to make and come up with your own favorite recipes. Fish cakes can be used as a main meal or as an appetizer. We enjoy ours anytime of day and love them with our homemade mustard pickles.
OVERCOMING FEARS OF HERBS & SPICES:
Everything we eat has flavor whether natural or enhanced. While I myself enjoy eating fresh fruit or vegetables right from our gardens, I also enjoy experimenting with herbs and spices in many of my meal concoctions. However I have discovered that there are so many people who stick to safe seasoning rather than test “the waters” so to speak. Usually when we hear or read the word spicy we tend to first think of the dish being “hot” and while in most cases this is probably true especially in restaurants. But the term spicy can also refer to the amount of spices that were added to give it flavor. So my first suggestion is if you’re at a restaurant and see a dish that is labeled spicy I would tend to steer away unless you love “hot” food. However at home spicy can be whatever you want it to be, whether “hot” or very flavorful.
If you are fearful of what type of spices to use then my suggestion is to use spices sparingly and taste testing as your dish cooks. While spices and herbs have found their way into the staples of certain food groups I tend to get a little daring and add a totally unique spice to see what it does. Let me point out that if you decide to experiment with new non-traditional spices in your meal that you do it one at a time this way you can tell for sure if the flavor works for you. By doing more than one new herb or spice you will never know which one to eliminate. For instance I love putting Paprika in my spaghetti sauce. It gives it a richer flavor.
So the bottom line is conquer your fears in baby steps. Add one new spice a little at a time. Start at 1/8 tsp. and work your way up from there.
PACKING FRESH FISH:
Whether you’ve participated in one of Prince Edward Islands fun seafood excursions or purchased our seafood from one of our marketplaces it is important to keep your fresh fish as cold as possible right from the start. Packing fresh fish in shaved ice is the best way to keep it stored until you get home to cook it, or freeze it. While we believe it’s best to eat your fresh fish as soon as you get it home. There are many, like ourselves who do enjoy freezing it to have over the winters so we can enjoy them when they’re out of season.
We have found the best way to keep the freshness and flavor is to prepare it by cutting it into fillets on a tray. Do not allow the fillets to touch each other. Immediately put tray into freezer so the fish can be flash frozen, so make sure you’re freezer is set to it’s coldest temperature. This process should not take long so keep an eye on your fillets. Once they’re frozen remove from the freezer so that you can glaze and wrap them for future use and to protect them from freezer damage.
We suggest a glaze of lemon juice, water and one packet of gelatin this adds a nice coating to the fish and preserves its freshness and flavor.
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice put into a pint container.
Then add just enough COLD water to the lemon juice to fill up the rest of the pint container.
Take 1/2 cup of the lemon juice and water mixture and put into a separate bowl. Mix in one packet of gelatin.
Heat the remaining water/lemon mixture on stove-top till it boils. Then add the gelatin mixture and continue boiling for about 5 minutes till you see the mixture getting thick. Remove from heat and let cool in refrigerator. Once the gelatin mixture is cold and set up remove fresh fish from freezer and dip each frozen fillet into the glazing mixture. Make sure that you thoroughly cover the fillets. Wrap in plastic and then in freezer paper and tape it securely. Don’t forget to label your fillets. Put the fillets immediately back in the freezer. Do Not Allow Fish To Thaw!
We believe this is the best way to preserve your fresh fish.