01 January 2015
Fish: wonderfully versatile!
You can do so many things with fish. Almost every type of fish has a characteristic flavour that tastes even more delicious when prepared on the Big Green Egg®. Fish also lends itself easily to various methods of preparation so that you can highlight a specific flavour. Big Green Egg Expert Ralph de Kok demonstrates the versatility of fish.
variations with fresh fish
Fish is incredibly delicious and nutritious. It contains important vitamins and minerals and is a natural source of protein and omega-3. The fattier types of fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines and trout are particularly rich in these essential fatty acids. As fish it lends itself well to preparation on the Big Green Egg, you can make plenty of variations. Grilled, smoked or steamed, fish is always delicious and healthy!
Just as with other ingredients, for the most delicious result with fish, it is important to work with the best quality products. Careful attention must be paid to fish, however, when it comes to freshness. By paying attention to specific characteristics when purchasing, you know soon enough whether or not the fish is fresh.
You immediately recognise fish that is not fresh by its unpleasant odour. Fresh fish smells fresh and briny and you can discern the unmistakeable smell of the sea. The skin should be shiny and fresh fish always has clear, rounded eyes. Nice red gills, supple fins and a resilient skin are also signs of freshness. The meat of a steak, fillet or loin should be firm and resilient and must look fresh. The smell is, of course, also an important guide.
Besides the freshness of the fish, the season is also an important factor in terms of quality. Fortunately, these days, increasingly more attention is paid to the seasons in order to maintain the fish population, so we can continue to enjoy fish responsibly. This is because the season, which differs for each type of fish, is linked to the spawning time. At the time that the fish carries spawn, it is relatively lean and the meat will have a watery taste. Only a few weeks after spawning does the fat percentage of the fish increase and the taste of the meat become fuller.
Preparing fresh fish
Delicious fish, which has, of course, been caught in season, combines perfectly with a Big Green Egg. Because so many cooking techniques are possible with a Big Green Egg, a specific type of preparation can be chosen in order to create extra flavour or to give the fish a specific texture. A number of possibilities are listed below:
Grilling is one of the techniques used most often. By grilling the fish on the grid at a temperature of 200-220°C, it gets wonderfully crisp on the outside with a characteristic grilled flavour. However, fish is delicate and it can stick to the grid. Always turn the fish with a spatula, rather than tongs, in order to prevent the fish from being pulled apart and use a Perforated Grid for fish that are not as firm, and for delicate parts, such as fillet.
Another option is to use wooden grilling planks. Because the fish lies on the plank and not directly on the grid, the fish does not have to be turned during cooking and it also gets a very subtle smoky flavour. Or wrap the fish (fillet), for example, in bacon. The bacon is a protective layer and is delicious in combination with the fish.
Hot smoking is not only a cooking method, but it is used above all in order to add extra flavour. Hot smoking has no effect on the ingredient’s shelf life. Maintain a dome temperature between 60 and 90°C.
Use a light type of wood, such as apple, for types of fish with a milder taste such as white fish. Fattier types of fish that have a more pronounced flavour can also be smoked, but it they are particularly tasty smoked with a heavier type of wood such as oak or whisky wood.
Steaming is a cooking technique that is not used very often on outdoor cooking devices, but it is a very delicious method. Among other things, it is ideal for cooking fillets of white fish as it is actually very simple and produces delicious results.
Heat the Big Green Egg to 150°C. Set a Round Drip Pan containing boiling hot liquid, with or without extra flavourings, on the grid and then place a Perforated Cooking Grid with the fish fillets on top. It is important that the temperature in the dome is not too high so that the fish is cooked mainly by the aromatic steam.
Do you want to prepare fish on the Big Green Egg? Give these 3 recipes a try!