FoodPerfecting your fish dish: The key to seasoning right

Perfecting your fish dish: The key to seasoning right

How to season fish?
How to season fish?
Images source: © Adobe Stock

7:13 PM EST, December 10, 2023

Seasoning fish is a straightforward task and doesn't require many additives. With just a few quick steps, you can prepare a flavorful and aromatic dish of fish, be it cod, trout or carp. However, beware of a single crucial mistake that could ruin both its taste and its structure.

We certainly don't want to offer our guests dry, tasteless fish. Even if we take great care during preparation—such a dish may inadvertently end up being served. The fault often lies in seasoning the fish prematurely, specifically adding salt too early—a mistake that can easily be sidestepped.

Seasoning the fish: Mistakes to avoid

Seasoning is a fundamental part of preparing any dish. Understanding which seasonings to use and when to use them can safeguard your culinary efforts. For instance, salt is known to draw moisture out of food. Though this is not exactly new information, we often haphazardly salt dishes without considering the timing, which is a significant mistake.

Only salt the fish once it is fully prepared—meaning cleaned, washed, dried, and ready to fry. The ideal time to salt the fish is right before transferring it to the frying pan. The reason? Salt triggers the process of juice extraction from the fish. Once we apply the salt too early, this results in a dish that is dry, lacking in juiciness, and generally substandard. However, if breading the fish, then add the salt just before this process.

When should you season the fish to make it tender and juicy?
When should you season the fish to make it tender and juicy?© Pixabay

Herbs and spices worth using to season fish: Discover the best combinations

Dill pairs wonderfully with both delicate, lean fish such as cod or trout, and oily fish like herring and salmon. It combines beautifully with lemon and pepper. Similarly, tarragon is universal but imparts a stronger taste and aroma compared to dill. It features prominently in French cuisine, accentuating all kinds of fish and seafood.

Marjoram also excels for seasoning fish, enhancing the flavor and aiding digestion. It fits best with herring, salmon, and other oil-rich fish, as well as crayfish and mussels. Rosemary, with its mustardy aftertaste, is another worthy mention. Break up the flavors by combining it with citrus fruits or lemon pepper. Like marjoram, it shines best with fattier fish, particularly eel.

Oregano markedly highlights the taste of lean, delicate fish. It is quite potent, so pairing it with simply olive oil or butter is enough. The same applies to coriander. Coriander leaves work best when combined with lemon and pepper, creating an ideal mix for all types of fish. However, coriander seeds complement fatty fish best. To release the fullest flavor of the seeds, crush them with a knife or grind them in a mortar, adding lemon pepper and garlic during the grinding process.

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