These two baked fish recipes from France are perfect solutions for anyone who wants to cook fish without smelling up the house. They go together in a couple of minutes, and cook quickly, leaving you just enough time to prepare rice or potatoes as an accompaniment. Your fish dinner is ready to eat in 30 minutes and the next day no one knows you had fish the night before.
You can use any filet of fish you wish to prepare these baked fish recipes. Definitely start with fresh fish however, and not frozen. Frozen fish tends to be watery and is best used in soups and sauces.
Ready to start? Recipe number one calls for rolling the fish and recipe number two for baking it in parchment paper (what the French call en papillote). Both of these touches add elegance without you having to do a lot of fussing.
Rolled Baked Fish RecipePoisson au Four
2 pounds thin fish filets (sole for example)
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried herbs
Butter a baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with half of the shallots.
Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper, then roll up each filet. Arrange them seam-side down in the baking dish.
Sprinkle with remaining shallots, bread crumbs and herbs, then pour wine and cream on top. Melt the other two tablespoons of butter and drizzle on top.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Poisson en Papillote
4 fish filets, totalling about 1 pound
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 small zucchini
1 bunch of chives
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut four pieces of aluminum foil, about 15 inches long each one.
Wash the zucchini and cut it in thin slices.
Chop the chives finely and put them in a small bowl. Squeeze the lemon, adding the juice to the chives. Mix in the heavy cream.
Place each filet on top of its piece of aluminum foil. Salt and pepper the fish lightly. Place the zucchini on top of the fish, evenly dividing it amongst the four pieces. Pour several tablespoons of the cream mixture on top of each filet.
Wrap up each filet in its aluminum foil. You can roll the top edges to make sure everything is secure, but be careful not to tear the aluminum foil.
Place the four packages in an oven proof dish and place the dish in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes.
Ireland is well-known for smoked fish, as they have some of the best fish around. Smoking fish is an exquisite way to preserve fish and keep it as fresh as possible. Smoking fish does not have to be done, but many people like it for the unique flavor it gives fish. Smoked salmon and mackerel are two of the top purchased smoked fish in the country. Smoking fish started years ago when they would preserve the fish in winter to have over a long period of time. Native Americans also believed that if someone handled the salmon the wrong way, it would drive the salmon away from the waters and they would not be able to catch anymore. They would have it served only at their lavish festivals since it was such a delicacy to them. Salmon was highly respected by the Native Americans, Romans, and Greeks.
Smoking fish is one of the best ways to preserve fish. Smoked salmon and smoked mackerel have been smoked in Ireland for years. There are a variety of ways salmon can be smoked for example, cold-smoking and hot-smoking. Cold-smoking is cooked slowly for about 24 hours at a low temperature and hot-smoking is cooked at a hotter temperature for less time. Before starting either smoking technique the fish is cured with salt for minutes up to hours. This allows for the fish to let salt in and to kill bacteria while letting some moisture out. After curing the meat it will need to be rinsed off before the smoking process begins. Hot smoked fish can not be cut thin as it will fall apart and crumble. Smoked fish will last longer than fresh fish but should still be cooked and eaten within a few days.
Smoked salmon is best when you use the cold smoke method. It is very moist and can be cut thin without falling apart. Smoked mackerel is usually sold whole and vacuum packed very tight. Smoked fish are fish that have been cured by smoking. Smoked salmon is very pricey and is considered a delicacy. It has a very unique flavor and it almost always smoked, whether it is hot or cold smoked. Smoked mackerel is very rich in omega 3 and very high in protein. All smoked fish is very high in protein and very good for you. Fish is very healthy for you and though some people worry about mercury in fish, it has been proven that salmon has very low mercury.
Years ago smoking fish was done to preserve fish but now it does not have to be done this way. Although, many people love the flavor it gives the fish and will even choose to smoke it at home. The hot-smoked method is used for flavor in salmon, tuna, and trout. The mackerel is mainly only cold-smoked due to it needs to be packaged and vacuumed tight more quickly. This fish has been around for years and is a unique delicacy, and it will be for years to come.
Cooking shrimp is something I do all year long, but in the summer it feels extra “right” to be preparing and enjoying this little crustacean. Unfortunately, so many of my friends don’t enjoy this delicacy as they should because they are not sure what to do with it. There are a few important steps to master in cooking shrimp and then it is a relatively simple ingredient to use in all types of preparations. As you read this article, I’ll explain my best tips for choosing shrimp, cleaning shrimp and preparing both frozen and fresh shrimp for excellent summer dishes that everyone will love. From simple suppers at home to easy potluck to impress, shrimp is a great addition to any meal! Best of all – cooking shrimp is fast, which means you won’t have to spend all summer in the kitchen!
Cleaning shrimp is necessary when working with fresh shrimp. Luckily, this is a relatively easy process, and with a little practice, you’ll be cleaning pounds of shrimp in no time at all! First, hold the shrimp by the tail between your thumb and forefinger, legs up, holding the shrimp in place with the rest of your fingers – this takes a bit of getting used to – so don’t get frustrated! Then take your paring knife and run down the legs of the shrimp, scraping them off as you go. You could even use a clam knife here because you don’t need it to be sharp. Now it should be easy to remove the shell. Finally, it’s time to take the vein out. Hold the shrimp – vein up – tightly in your hand. With your other hand, make small incision, exposing the body cavity. Now simply pull the vein out. For another look, try butterflying the shrimp: make an incision and run down the length of the shrimp to open 2 halves. Be careful not to cut the shrimp all the way through. From here, you can poach the shrimp from here for shrimp cocktail or prepare it however you’d like. This method of cleaning shrimp increases surface area – making the shrimp look bigger, helps the shrimp cook more consistently and makes a very nice presentation. Once you’ve cleaned all your shrimp – don’t discard those shells. I freeze them to use later in shrimp stock, shrimp sauce and shrimp butter.
Cooking Fresh Shrimp
Cooking fresh shrimp is a wonderful experience because after cleaning, there are just a few short steps to enjoy a wonderful shrimp creation of your own making. But there are some important things to consider when handling fresh seafood of any kind – especially shrimp. First is in selection. I generally try to buy shrimp with the heads still on. This tells you something important about the shrimp: it’s never been frozen. Freezing shrimp with the heads on makes a mess (and not a lot of sense) so anytime you need to start cooking fresh shrimp by removing the heads, you know they’re fresh! Next is temperature. Shrimp should always be kept at around 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Most refrigerators are around 40 degrees, which might sound close, but it’s not – as far as the shrimp are concerned. Studies have shown that just a 5 degree temperature reduction (from 40 to 35) doubles the shelf life of fish and shellfish. So before cooking fresh shrimp, you will most likely need to store your raw shrimp on self-draining ice in the refrigerator. I place the ice and shrimp in a colander and then into a metal bowl to catch the water as the ice melts. Incidentally, the same is true for refrigerators at the store. Fresh fish should always be stored on ice. Before cooking fresh shrimp, give it a smell. If shrimp does go bad, you’ll know it by a strong ammonia odor, which is true of most fish.
Cooking Frozen Shrimp
Cooking frozen shrimp is often necessary when the fresh variety is just not available. Don’t worry – it happens to me too! Luckily, frozen shrimp are readily available and can be tasty in dishes as well – as long as you know my tips for selecting, handling and cooking frozen shrimp. For starters – what does all that terminology mean? “I’ll take some 15-20 IQF P & D, please.” OK – let me translate. IQF is a term to describe the way in which shrimp is frozen. It means individually quick frozen. If your IQF bag of shrimp has ice crystals or the shrimp is frozen together in a clump, don’t buy it. This means the bag has defrosted and been re-frozen. This is something that should generally be avoided in purchasing frozen foods. Shrimp are labeled with a number range (15-20) that refers the the number of shrimp that come in a pound. The larger the number, the smaller the shrimp. Medium is around 15-20; Salad shrimp are 96+. As I mentioned above, it is best to clean shrimp when fresh. The exception to this would be on shrimp boats where they have the technology to immediately freeze the shrimp they catch at very low temperatures (quickly). So – frozen shrimp can be purchased cleaned or not cleaned. If they have been cleaned before freezing, they are called P&D – peeled and de-veined. This means you will be cooking frozen shrimp in a matter of minutes – after defrosting, that is. One last thing – always defrost shrimp before cooking frozen shrimp. The best way to do this is in the refrigerator. If you need to defrost more quickly, you can place the shrimp in a bowl under slowly running cold water to defrost.
Cooking shrimp is a skill that enables you to prepare wonderful home-cooked dishes quickly and easily. Shrimp is a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in so many different ways, you are not likely to get bored anytime soon. By understanding and applying these simple techniques, you will soon be cooking shrimp at every meal. Shrimp omelet, anyone?