Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Something Fishy

By now we are all aware of the benefits of eating fish—just as our mom told us—Fish is healthy! They are a natural and excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein, low in fat and a good source of riboflavin, calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc and potassium. According to the American Heart Association eating at least two servings of fish each week helps to prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Fish is the real in fast food. It's also one of the most versatile foods you can eat, lending it to most cooking methods. They tend to cook faster than meat and chicken because of little connective tissue and fat making the average cooking time 10 to 12 minutes. The proteins found in fish will coagulate under heat and cause the fish to turn opaque-a sign that the fish is cooked. If you’re unsure, use a fork or knife and insert it into the thickest part of the fish, it should flake easily. Lao Tzu was clear about it -- Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish--Do not overdo it! Here’s a guide to cooking time:

·         10 minutes for every inch of fish
·         5 minutes for every inch of fish cooked in sauce
·         20 minutes per inch if the fish is frozen

Cooking fish is easier and quicker than most people think. Here are some cooking method and tips from our kitchen to yours:

·         Marinating fish can impart flavor. However, over-marinating it, especially with excess acid can cause it to become mushy when cooked. As a general rule, if you use acidic ingredients, marinate for no more than 30 minutes. Richer flesh of fish such as salmon and tuna can be marinated for about an hour.
·         Poaching fish is one of the best cooking method, it keeps the fish moist. And probably the healthiest since it requires little or no oil. Simply place fish in pan and cover just barely with poaching liquid ( stock, water, wine, broth or combination of each etc.), bring to a boil, reduce to simmer with lid on, cook for a few minutes or until fish is fork tender. Fish is done when it turns opaque.
·         Baking fish is perhaps the easiest and simplest way to ensure a hassle free meal. All you need to do is set the required temperature of your oven (350-450 deg F). Just remember to grease baking pan and brush fish with butter or oil. To ensure that it stays moist, you can wrap fish in foil or parchment paper (en papillote) Cook for about 10 minutes per inch thickness.
·         Grilling Fish. Nothing beats the flavour of grilled fish.  You can wrap them in foil or banana leaves stuffed with your desired herbs or vegetables. Cooking time depends on the size of fish you are grilling. Try grilling tender fish fillet on wood planks and discover new flavours from cedar, hickory or maple wood.
·         Steaming is probably one of the most common cooking methods in Asia. The whole fish is cleaned and lightly salted. You can add grated ginger or spring onions and season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Of course, here in the Philippines popular methods are Pan-fry, Deep-fry , Stir Fry  or Sauteed. Season fish as desired, heat oil over medium-high heat, add fish in a single layer and make sure not to overcrowd pan. Cook for 5 minutes per side, per inch of thickness.

Fresh Tuna and Tomato Stew

750g Fresh Tuna, cut into chunks
4 tblspn Olive Oil
2 pcs White Onion (medium), chopped
2 pcs Garlic cloves, chopped
800g Tomatoes (canned), diced and peeled
1 tblspn Fresh Sage, chopped
1 tblspn Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 tablspn Fresh Rosemary, chopped
2 pcs Bay Leaves
½ tspn Sugar
2 tblspn Tomato Paste
2/3 c White Wine
(To Taste )Salt and Pepper


Season Tuna chunks with salt and pepper. Pan grill until half cooked.

In a separate pan, Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, fresh herbs, sugar and tomato paste. Stir in white wine.  Simmer for 5-8 minutes or until sauce is reduced.

Add cooked tuna to sauce and simmer for another 3 minutes or until fish is fully cooked.

Herbed Galunggong

4 pcs Galunggong(Mackerel), about 120g each/whole/scaled/cleaned
1 tblspn Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tblspn Fresh Dill, chopped
4 tblspn Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 ½ tblspn Lemon Juice
 (as needed) Olive Oil
(To taste) Salt and Pepper

8 pcs Lemon Slices (thinly)


Combine Fresh herbs, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon Juice In a bowl. Set aside.

Evenly distribute herb mixture inside fish cavity. Brush olive oil all over outside fish and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Cook mackerel about 5-8 minutes each side. Arrange on a platter. Garnish with lemon slices on top.

Note: Cooking this over charcoal fire is heavenly good!

Steamed Pampano

2 pcs Pompano (about 500g each)
2 tblspn Fish Sauce
2 tspn  Pepper, freshly ground
2 tspn Ginger, chopped
2 tspn Red Onion, chopped
1 tblspn Tomatoes, chopped
2 pcs Salted egg, chopped

(as needed)Banana Leaves
Cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Garlic, toasted(for garnish)
Lemon or Lime wedges


Combine ginger, onions, tomatoes and salted egg. Set aside.

Make a slit on each fish. Season with fish sauce and pepper- rubbing all over. Divide ginger mixture to each fish equally, placing it in cavity.

Wrap fish carefully  in banana leaves. Steam for 20-25 minutes or until done. Arrange on a serving plate and garnish with cilantro and toasted garlic. Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime.