Steamed and Deep Fried Fish – Tips & Tricks

Steamed Fish
All fish dishes that are prepared by shallow or deep poaching may alternatively be steamed. Exactly the same procedures are followed in preparing the fish, the cooking liquid and any additional ingredients. When using a pressure steamer, however, it is advisable to cover the fish with lightly buttered greaseproof paper to prevent moisture from the steam diluting the cooking liquid and to avoid discoloration of the fish.

Fish dishes that require a sauce may be steamed in the appropriate cooking liquid together with any additional garnish that may be required. The fish should be covered with buttered greaseproof paper and a lid to prevent water from the steam diluting the cooking liquid. The sauce may be produced from the liquid in exactly the same way as for poaching, and possible problems and causes are in most instances exactly the same. It should be stressed, however, that unless the steaming equipment is thoroughly cleaned before cooking fish there is a danger that the flavor may become contaminated.

Some distortion of shape, in particular for those items that are cooked off the bone such as fillets and delice, may be experienced. It is advisable to refer to the guides supplied by the manufacturers of the steaming equipment for the best method of cooking and the length of time for cooking wherever possible.

Deep Fried Fish
Deep frying is the cooking of small cuts of fish in clarified fat or oil at a high temperature with the fish totally immersed in the fat. It is the fastest traditional method of cooking fish.

Small whole fish such as Dover sole, lemon sole, whiting and whitebait are suitable for deep frying, as are cuts of fish such as fillets, goujons, goujonettes and suprêmes.

All deep fried fish must have some form of outer coating:
(a) to prevent fat or oil penetrating the fish;
(b) to give the outer coating of the fish crispness;
(c) to enhance the texture, flavour and appearance of the fish in a variety of ways.

There are three different coatings used for deep fried fish:
(a) batters — used for any kind of fish cooked à l’Orly;
(b) breadcrumbs — used in the cooking of fish à l’Anglaise;
(c) flour — used in the cooking of fish à la Française;

Whatever kind of coating is used it is advisable to serve deep fried fish as soon as possible after it is cooked as the coating quickly loses its fresh taste and crisp texture.

Garnishes and accompaniments for deep fried fish are provided according to the kind of cooking:
(a) à l’Orly — a quarter of lemon and picked parsley with hot Tomato Sauce served separately;
(b) à l’Anglaise — a quarter of lemon and deep fried picked parsley with Tartare Sauce served separately;
(c) à la Française — a quarter of lemon and picked parsley with no sauce.

Fish deep fried in batter:
The most common batters are:
(a) yeast;
(b) convenience batter mixtures.
Before the application of the batter the fish may be marinated in lemon juice, oil and seasoning. This process is generally associated with haute cuisine and adds fat to the fish, the acid acting as a tenderiser on the flesh.

Marinade for deep fried fish:
The prepared fish is placed in a tray, sprinkled with lemon juice, oil and a seasoning of salt and pepper together with a few parsley stalks, and left for approximately 30 minutes.