Monday, December 6, 2010

I love codfish, but I have a lot of trouble keeping it in one peice. Any pointers?

The Codfish family (hake, scrod, cod, haddock, et al) has always been one of those trickier fish to dabble in. It's very tasty, but mild, and so goes well with many flavor profiles... but there's a catch, it has a tendency to crumble into a pile of fish flakes if you breath on it.

For this reason I've always operated under the rule - "once it sees heat, don't f----ing touch it". So usually, I would prepare it in a vessel in which it could be served, such as a crock.

There is, however, an alternative- a simple step to give these fillets a little more strustural integrity and build flavor while your at it.  All it takes is salt, but a lot of it.   You simply take them out of the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking time and salt them very liberally, almost burying them.  (if you have a flatter tail section, fold it onto itself and salt only the outside) Let them stand in the salt for about 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse them well and dry them off.

The flesh of the fish itself should become slightly more translucent and noticeably firmer to the touch.   This slight change will make it much easier to handle throughout the cooking process, but you still have to be gentle.   And remember, this process seasons the fish as well, so you won't need any more salt.
For the record, you always lay the fish away from yourself.  So as to not splatter oil on yourself.

See what I made with this here fish. . . .
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