Proper preparation of fish

Whether grilled, steamed, deep-fried or pan-fried, we'll show you how to make any fish the centrepiece of your dining table. Below, we have provided some useful tips on common preparation methods for fish and seafood. If you have decided to cook a whole fish, you should first remove the scales and rinse the inside of the fish thoroughly in cold water. Then gently pat it dry. We recommend removing the fins and gills before proceeding further.

Pan-frying
Fish is best cooked in pure vegetable fats and oils as they spit less during frying. We recommend dipping the fish in flour before frying. The fish fillets should be fried on a medium heat – flesh-side down to begin with and then skin-side down. This helps the fillets retain their natural shape and prevents the skin from curling.

Poaching
This is the most gentle way to cook fish. Place the fish in a roasting bag or wrap it in foil so that it can cook in its own juices.

Steaming
This is a wonderful, healthy way to cook fish. Adding a little fat and some water helps to preserve the unique flavour of the fish as well as all the nutrients and vitamins. To stop the steam from escaping, the pan should be covered with a lid.

Baking
If you are baking your fish in the oven, make sure that it is covered. This prevents the fish from drying out and helps to preserve the nutrients and aromas.

Deep-frying
The oil or liquid fat must be thoroughly pre-heated so that the fish and/or its crumb coating absorb as little fat as possible. The perfect temperature for ensuring the fish is evenly cooked through is 180°C.

Grilling
This method of cooking is particularly low in fat. When grilling fish, it is important not to cook the fish on too high a heat, otherwise the outside will turn black and the inside will still be raw. Thinly sliced fish fillets cook in a matter of minutes, while a whole fish takes around 15-20 minutes. Drizzling the fish with a little lemon juice and wrapping it in foil helps keep it nice and juicy.


Side dishes – more than just a sideshow

Although they are often treated as nothing more than a supporting act, it's worth putting as much thought into your side dishes as it is your elegant fish centrepiece.

Lots of side dishes go with fish and seafood, depending on how they are prepared. Rice is the classic accompaniment to fish. It goes particularly well with oven-baked or pan-fried fish. Why not try a different type of rice for a change? Black whole-grain rice (Venere) or wild rice will add a splash of colour to your plate and has a delicate, nutty aroma. Or perhaps try a mildly spiced risotto. In this case, the fish should only be lightly seasoned so as not to take away from all the other aromas. For a more sophisticated look, the rice can be shaped into balls using an ice cream scoop or turned out onto the plate in an ovenproof dish.

Potatoes are another classic side dish and come in many forms, including boiled potatoes, roast potatoes and potato salad. Mashed potato also serves as a great accompaniment to fish. Pommes duchesse are a particularly sophisticated choice. They consist of a purée of mashed potato, egg yolk and butter, which is then piped into swirls, brushed with egg yolk or melted butter, and baked in the oven until golden.

Salad also makes a great accompaniment to grilled fish, in particular. A winter salad such as lamb's lettuce with oranges and red onions will bring freshness to the plate.

Vegetables are another excellent accompaniment to fish and seafood. Fennel and carrots bring out the flavour of fish beautifully.

Noodles or Knöpfli make a delicious accompaniment to an elegant piece of fish and go particularly well with a fine sauce.


Handy kitchen aids

You don't need to refurnish your kitchen to cook fish – standard cooking utensils will more than suffice. However, there are a number of useful kitchen aids that will make cooking fish a little easier.

Fish bone tweezers
Fish lovers often buy their fish whole so that they can enjoy it as fresh as possible. However, this also means that the fish must be carefully boned once it has been filleted. Fish bone tweezers allow you to remove bones safely and easily from fish fillets.

Fish grilling basket
Grilled fish tastes delicious and is healthy too. However, care must be taken to prevent the delicate fish from sticking to the grill or falling apart. A fish grilling basket is the perfect solution, ensuring that the fish makes it to the plate professionally and in one piece. The fish is sandwiched between two grilling grates and placed on the grill to cook. This prevents the fish from sticking to the grill or falling apart, and makes it easier to remove from the grill once cooked.

Core temperature gauge
Just like with a fine piece of meat, the core temperature of fish determines how well it is cooked. For example, a beautiful salmon fillet with a core temperature of 43°C will still be almost raw on the inside and deep orange in colour. At 50-55°C, the salmon will be medium-done with a very juicy texture and a lightly browned, tender flesh. By 60°C the salmon will have reached its limit. The core temperature should not be any higher, otherwise the fish will dry out. The ideal core temperature for salmon is 52°C.

Lobster tongs
It's difficult to eat lobster or any other large crustacean properly without lobster tongs, especially if the shell has not been cracked open prior to serving. The tongs can be used to crack open the claws, which contain the tasty lobster meat, or to break off the legs.