When preparing dishes predominantly using with gourmet food recipes seafood, the key to achieve a delectable outcome is not necessarily by using the most expensivegourmet cooking recipes but the freshest ingredients. In the span of an hour or so at room temperature, fresh fish and shellfish can go from having a pleasant flavor reminiscent of the ocean to a stinky fishy taste and smell.
If you’re lucky to be living by a coastline, lake or river where seafood are caught and sold in abundance, most likely your family’s mealtimes regularly feature a variety of delicious fish and shellfish dishes, usually prepared simply like grilling or pan frying. To ensure the quality of seafood purchased elsewhere, develop a relationship with your fishmonger who can tip you when a fresh catch arrives. Ensure proper storage if you won’t be using it immediately and remove innards when these haven’t been cleaned at the market as this are the first parts to spoil. For crabs, mussels and clams purchased live, cook these right away because they simply won’t be edible if they perish before cooking.
Like a fine piece of marbled steak that tastes its best simply grilled, the best seafood is likewise prepared in a simple straightforward manner. Take care not to overcook squid, cuttlefish and octopus as these tend to become very rubbery. When deep frying calamari or tempura use good neutral tasting cooking oil that lets the flavors shine rather than interfere and lend a greasy dish.
“Second best” ingredients like frozen seafood and not so fancy varieties of fish and shellfish can also be made into mouthwatering dishes when combined with fresh vegetables and seasoned with herbs and spices. A great example of this is bouillabaisse, a hearty stew using fish scraps and shellfish slow cooked with olive oil, a variety of vegetables, Provencal herbs and spices.
In Asian cookery, umami (Japanese for pleasant savory taste) is widely used to describe a dish as delicious distinct from the more familiar sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It is characterized by the taste of certain compounds found in foods like meats, vegetables, fish and shellfish. Though seasoning mixes claim they make dishes more delicious without using several ingredients and slow cooking, be wary of their high sodium content, artificial ingredients and preservative.
For everyday seafood cooking, use readily available inexpensive shrimp, squid and mussels and transform them into a variety of salads, soups and entrées. Expensive lobsters, imported scallops and caviar are reserved for special occasions.