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Martha's Fish Techniques with James

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MarthasArchive
Recipe Category: Seafood
Recipe Preparation Level: moderate
    Fish Techniques

    Filleting a flatfish or preparing zabaglione becomes almost simple once you've mastered basic cooking techniques. In James Peterson's new book, "Essentials of Cooking," he explains how to do everything from pealing a pineapple to cooking acorn squash. Today, he joins Martha to demonstrate how to prepare salmon steaks, poach trout, and clean squid.

    How to Bone & Tie a Salmon Steak (Medallion)

    1. With a sharp knife, cut the center bone from the salmon steak.

    2. With small pliers, remove any pin bones.

    3. Cut 2 inches of skin off one end of the steak. Fold end in toward center of steak. Wrap the other end around the outside of the steak, and with string, tie into a round or medallion.


    Poaching a small Fish

    1. Prepare the court bouillon two or three days in advance. Court bouillon, the vegetable-and-herb broth, traditionally imparts subtle flavor as the fish cooks. Strain the bouillon, and transfer it to a sauté pan deep enough to submerge the fish.

    2. Open the fish, and rub the inside with fresh chopped herbs such as tarragon. When chopping tarragon, coat it lightly with olive oil to prevent it from turning black. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

    3. Wrap the fish in several layers of cheesecloth, and tie the ends closed for easy handling. A small fish, such as a trout, can go straight into a hot court bouillon, but a larger fish, such as salmon, needs to be started in cool liquid and heated very slowly so the outside doesn't cook before the inside.

    4. For every inch of thickness, cook the fish for 10 minutes. The fish should be firm to the touch when done. Remove from pan.

    5. Remove the skin from the fish while hot; if allowed to cool, the skin will stick. Decorate with thinly sliced vegetables or citrus fruits, or herbs.


    How to Clean Squid

    1. When selecting squid, make sure the skin is purple and not gray. Cut off the tentacles below the eyes. Fold back the tentacles, and push out the "beak" and any grit caught in the small center opening. If the tentacle bunches are large, cut them into two or more pieces.

    2. Pull out the innards from the hood. Remove the small plastic-like "quill" that runs along the inside of the hood.

    3. Cut off the wings and cut into strips. With a knife, scrape off the purple skin. Unless you're stuffing the hood, slice into rings. Cook with tomato sauce or red wine.

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