Fish is referred to any aquatic species, having scales on the body and equipped with fins. Fish is also the word given to the food made with it. Various fish dishes are cooked and consumed in almost all cuisines. Fish can be eaten either raw or in cooked form. Fish recipes are popularly used to make appetizers and main dishes. Fish fingers, grilled fish, sushi and fish curry are some of the popular fish dishes served in global cuisine.
History of Fish
Though there is no clear information provided about the history and the origin of fish as food, historians believe that fish was mainly consumed in coastal and Mediterranean areas. They use to preserve fish with salt due to absence of any refrigeration. Irish, English and Northern fisherman use to catch fish from the water of Newfoundland in the middle ages.
Methods of Preparation of Fish Recipes
Fish is readily available in most parts of the world and it can be used in making innumerable dishes. The most popular fish dish is Japanese sushi. Raw fish is used in making sushi and it is a well-liked dish in international cuisine. Fish chips, fish cutlets, baked fish, fried fish and smoked fish are some of the other popular fish dishes. Fish is a food item that often contains parasites and it can be avoided by cooking the fish thoroughly.
Cuisines Commonly Making Fish Dishes
European cuisine is known for its fish dishes. Portuguese cuisine is one of the major European cuisines that have highest fish consumption. Even simple fish dishes are often made special and exotic with seasoning of virgin oil and white wine vinegar. Cod fish and shellfish are the popular varieties of fish used in Portuguese cuisines. Ray fish and tuna are also used in making various fish dishes in Portuguese cuisines. Asian as well as American cuisines are also having many fish recipes in their palate.
Preferable Cooking Methods for Fish
Fish can be eaten raw as in sushi or sashimi. If it has to be cooked then there are several methods of preparing fish dishes.
· Smoking – In this method fish is cooked with dry heat or with coal. This gives a smoky flavor to the dish. Smoked salmon is the best example.
· Grilling – Fish is marinated and grilled on a hot wire rack. Grilled fish can be served as a well-liked side dish.
· Poaching – While making fish dishes by poaching method, the fish is gently simmered in water. It is the best suited method for cooking fish.
· Frying – Fish can be made by deep-frying in oil. Fried fish, fish fingers and fish chips are some of the best examples.
· Baking – It is a dry heat method in which fish is cooked independently or with other ingredients.
Nutritive Value of Fish
The salt water fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that help in maintaining overall health of body. Fish oil is heart friendly and it is recommended to be consumed by those suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Protein content is also very high in fish dishes. According to nutritionists, fish should be consumed at least 2-3 days in a week.
Though fish is a nutritional product it causes some health hazards too. There are some species of fish like shell fish and fugu that may cause food poisoning if not cooked properly. Parasites are also present in raw fish, in which case, it is recommended to cook fish with proper method.
Buying and Storage of Fish
It is highly recommended to pick the freshest of fresh fish from the market. Here are some tips to buy fish:
While buying whole fish following things should be kept in mind:
- Fish should have bright, clear eyes
- The skin of the fish should look shiny and metallic. Dull looking fish is not recommended for eating.
- There should not be any offensive smell from the fish. It should smell fresh.
- Gills of fish should be rich red.
While buying fish fillets it is necessary to check the following things:
· Fish fillet should have fresh flesh with fresh skin.
· The fish fillets should smell fresh
· There should not be any milky water on the fillets as it is the first sign of rotten fish.
Types of Fish
There are several type of fishes available in the market for human consumption. The taste and the flavor of the fish depends upon its habitat and characteristics. Some of the major types of fishes are as follows:
- Fresh water fish – These fishes are commonly caught from lakes and ponds. The salinity is very less in fresh water fish.
- Marine fish – This fish is found sea water. Due to salty water the saline content of marine fish is higher than fresh water fish.