Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Cooking

Don't fear the whole fish: Grab the tinfoil and soy sauce

The Chinese like to feature whole steamed fish on the menu of their New Year's feasts. Said to signify togetherness, abundance and long life, it's a dish with symbolism. You're supposed to leave the bones, head and tail intact, a way to help ensure that the new year will be a winner from beginning to end.

When buying fish, many of us tend to opt for the ease of fillets. The prospect of buying, prepping and deboning a whole fish might seem not just novel, but also daunting. Ditto for the prospect of steaming a whole fish, a precarious project for even experienced cooks.

So here I propose baking your whole fish rather than steaming it, and wrapping it in foil to keep it moist. It's much easier to cook it this way. It also has the added benefit of creating an instant sauce.

But let's start at the beginning. You're at the store checking out the fish on display. How can you tell if a whole fish is fresh? Its eyes should be clear, not cloudy, and its gills should be brightly colored, red or pink.

Once you've picked your winner, ask the fishmonger to clean it for you. If you don't plan to head home right away, ask for a bag of ice to place next to the fish.

Begin prepping your fish by scoring it, slicing deeply into the flesh. This will allow the marinade to penetrate to the core and for the fish to cook evenly. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your tastes, but the soy sauce is key because it contributes salt as well as flavor.

How will you know when it is done? Pull the pan out of the oven, open up the foil carefully and poke the fish with a small, sharp knife. If the knife slides in easily all the way to the bone, the fish is done. If there's some resistance, cook it a little longer.

After you have filleted the fish, ladle some of the cooking liquid over each portion and dig in. It's a treat any day of the year.

Comments
Taste test: Chocolate chip cookies

Taste test: Chocolate chip cookies

When we started seeing ads for Nestle Toll House cookies already baked and prepackaged, I knew it was time for our tasters to get involved. They are cookie lovers, and one even has his own cookiemaking business. We found the Nestle brand and had hope...
Published: 06/18/18
Take grilled potatoes to another level with garlic and rosemary

Take grilled potatoes to another level with garlic and rosemary

By AMERICA’S TEST KITCHENGrilled potatoes are a summer classic. We wanted to put a new spin on this dish by adding rosemary and garlic. Unfortunately, we found it was difficult to add enough flavor to plain grilled potatoes. Coating the potatoes with...
Published: 06/13/18
Recipe for Stuffed Beef Burgers

Recipe for Stuffed Beef Burgers

Hidden inside these tame-looking burgers is a smoky and spicy blend of bacon, chipotle, cheese and something unexpected: pepperoni. Because the ground beef part of these burgers is patted fairly thin, there’s less of a chance you’ll undercook it. For...
Published: 06/13/18
How to cook eggs for dinner: shakshuka, carbonara and more

How to cook eggs for dinner: shakshuka, carbonara and more

Eggs are an underutilized dinner ingredient. Aside from fried rice and a breakfast-for-dinner situation, I rarely use eggs in my cooking past the hour of 4 p.m. It makes no sense. Eggs are a great source of protein, able to be cooked in myriad ways, ...
Published: 06/12/18
Add some sweet heat to your cookout with these jerk chicken skewers

Add some sweet heat to your cookout with these jerk chicken skewers

By Matt BrooksBurgers and dogs may be the traditional staples of a cookout, but when you’re craving something more than meat on bun, a well-assembled skewer is a colorful showstopper on the grill.It’s scientifically proven that food tastes better whe...
Published: 06/12/18
Taste test: ballpark peanuts

Taste test: ballpark peanuts

For a time when my children were growing up, I thought I would spend purgatory sitting on a ballpark bleacher. Now, I cherish those days of watching my son and daughter play baseball and softball. I also have enjoyed my share of shelled peanuts. Noth...
Published: 06/11/18
Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: ‘dragged’

Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: ‘dragged’

By KATIE WORKMANOne of the amazing things about Italian food is that the best dishes are often so completely, refreshingly simple. Like, four-ingredient simple. (We don’t count olive oil and salt. Or water. Or air.) I love broccoli. I can roast brocc...
Published: 06/08/18
Honey laundering: Honey may be one of the nation’s most fraudulent foods

Honey laundering: Honey may be one of the nation’s most fraudulent foods

Fifteen years ago, Hackenberg Apiaries, with hives in Pennsylvania and Florida, produced 300 barrels of honey a year. According to Davey Hackenberg, that number dipped to 80 barrels two years ago and 40 last year. Nationwide, many beekeepers report t...
Published: 06/06/18
Updated: 06/11/18
Four weeknight pastas with sauces that come together fast

Four weeknight pastas with sauces that come together fast

By Domenica Marchetti For pasta lovers like me, Sundays are for long-simmered ragus and, when I’m feeling really ambitious, homemade noodles. For the rest of the week, thankfully, there are boxed pastas and pantry sauces I can pull together in about ...
Published: 06/06/18
These grab-and-go meal prep standbys make assembling salads a cinch

These grab-and-go meal prep standbys make assembling salads a cinch

You meal prep long enough, and you realize there are just some things you’re never going to do. I’m never going to successfully make full lunches for every day of the workweek, tidily assembled in their own containers. For one thing, it’s a lot of wo...
Published: 06/05/18
Updated: 06/07/18