Fish tips from "A wee pinch of sugar"

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Top tips

From Rachel at  "A wee pinch of sugar"

We are delighted Rachel from A Wee Pinch Of Sugar, she has joined us to share her tips on buying and cooking fish as part of Seafood week. Rachel's blog reflects her passion for local connections to food, particularly Scottish food which is fresh and seasonal, and she likes to support small independent food producers. With fish in abundance who could be better to share her knowledge for Seafood week?

Rachel writes ;- Seafood week is underway, and, for fish lovers it's an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic range of fish available in the U.K. The best and tastiest way to get involved is to cook and eat more fish.

Scottish Salmon is my favourite and features in family meals every week. Salmon is such a healthy fish; full of Omega 3 fatty acids and a great source of protein. Whether you’re buying a few fillets or a whole fish, here are some tips for buying and cooking.

Whole fish - look for nice clear bright eyes as that’s a good indicator of freshness. Gills should be bright red and the skin should be shiny and moist. Flesh should be firm to touch and the tail stiff.

Fillets should be firm, shiny and wet as well as neatly trimmed. Really fresh fish will be slippery and smell of the sea.

Storage -  remove the wrapping, rinse in cold water, pat dry and store near the bottom of the refrigerator.  Storage time for an oily fish like salmon is 1-2 days but do refer to the label on the packaging.

Fresh V Frozen Salmon - It's really a matter of preference but I prefer fresh salmon as it's so readily available; but, for convenience it may suit your lifestyle to keep a bag of frozen fillets in the freezer.  

Skin on or skin off. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and the fat is concentrated just under the skin. It’s healthier to cook with the skin on and eat every last tasty morsel.

Top tips for cooking

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  1. Pan Frying - Oil the fish and season. I prefer to use a non stick pan such as the Judge Radiant as I’ve never quite achieved crispy skin in a stainless steel pan. Heat the pan, place the fish skin side down and cook for 4-5 mins. Turn and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Grilling - Oil the salmon and season. Place fillets on the grill pan, skin side up and cook for 4-5 minutes each side.
  3. Baking - Preheat the oven to 200C Fan 180C Gas 6. Oil and season the fish and place in an oven proof dish and cook for 10 -15 minutes.

Here are a couple of my recipes

Salmon with puy lentils and beetroot

This healthy and delicious salmon dish makes good use of seasonal British beetroot and the recipe easily doubles for a family meal. The marmalade and mustard add a real zing to the fish and the earthiness of the beetroot and puy lentils are perfect winter ingredients that make a great accompaniment for the salmon. For quickness I used a pack of ready to eat puy lentils but feel free to use dried if you have more time.

Fragrantly and mildly spiced Thai salmon

Salmon works really well with Thai flavours and this fragrant and mildly spiced salmon ticks the boxes for my quick and healthy midweek meals. I made a homemade paste for the recipe and although it will work equally well with shop bought Thai green curry paste,  you will find it much spicier than my homemade version.