Cooking fish and seafood in general is all about mastering precision. Don't confuse that with complexity but rather getting all the details just right. Before you can even think of cooking fish like a pro, you have to start with the best possible piece of fish or seafood. This part of the equation is so paramount that if I don't start with the freshest piece of fish, I cook something else in stead. The combination of my Greek birthplace and my French training have drilled that into my head so deeply that its a part of my DNA.
In Greece, when you buy fish at the market- which is the only place they buy it- there is so much banter, yelling, interrogation as to the provenance of that fish, what it ate etc. I totally get it. Now that I think of it we here in Canada have one thing in common with Greece; that we are surrounded by three sides with water. Granted Canada is gigantic and that's why sometimes in the middle we tend to have less seafood knowledge. Slowly though our coastal mentality is spreading throughout the country thanks to some great chefs, Dave Suzuki and people who make their livelihood fishing.
Fish should never smell fishy, it should be firm and my rule is to always cook fish on the day I purchase it, unless I know it's less than 2 days out of sea. Now that you have your fresh, sustainable piece of fish or seafood - wild west cost sockeye salmon season is upon us and I love it- here is my technique based advice on how best to show it off.
There are many ways to cook fish and it all depends on the type of fish you are cooking but I'm going to focus on three of my favourites: Grilling, pan roasting and sauteeing. All these methods rely mostly on the right temperature and cooking time. I have heard so many horror stories of people in their thirties now refusing to eat fish because they were traumatized with nasty, over-cooked fish as children.
Grilling is simple but probably the trickiest to master. Your grill must be super clean- that means no debris on the grill whatsoever, or that will cause your fish to stick. Proper pre-heating is also essential. I usually crank the bbq to the highest setting- almost till the point where the neighbours think something is on fire- once