Saturday, May 9, 2009

#123_How to Clean and Fry Fish

Fried Whole Tilapia
served with dipping sauce and papaya pickles

Usually these fish are already scaled and gutted
when you buy them at the Asian stores.
If they are frozen, thaw them out in the fridge overnight
before you can clean them.

Rub really well the inside and outside of the fish with salt
or baking soda to get rid of the slimy-ness and fishy smell.
Rinse fish good with cold water.
Using a very sharp knife, make a couple of gashes
diagonally across both sides of fish.
Drain on paper towel.
Sprinkle plain salt or garlic salt all over the fish,
inside and on the skin.

These are trouts given to me by my friend Bobbi, who got them from her friends who went fishing to Idaho. I love trouts specially the German brown. I would choose trouts over bangus anytime..and I love them fried or stewed (sinigang).

You can tell that a non-Filipino gutted and scaled the fish as the heads and tails had been chopped off. I think the fish look more like snakes without the heads on than they do fish. That is probably the reason most Filipinos including myself like to keep the head intact even though we d
on't usually eat that part of the fish.

Whole Tilapia

How to fry fish:

Heat oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium-low heat. When oil is hot enough, drop a couple of crushed cloves of garlic in the oil. The garlic not only adds some flavor to the fish but also can be used to test the temperature of the oil. If the garlic turns brown so fast, that indicates that the oil is too hot. Turn the heat down. Then slowly drop the fish in the fry pan. Be careful because the hot oil splatters upon contact with the fish. If you have oil splatter screen, it will be useful for this task, if not, you can just use a piece of aluminum foil loosely placed over the pan to avoid oil from splattering all over.

Fry fish about 8-12 minutes on one side turning just once. The other side should not take as long. Remember, this is whole fish, so it takes a little longer to fry than fillets do. Also, cooking time varies according to the size of fish.
If you want the skin of fish to be soft, put a lid on while frying. If you want the skin to be a little crispy (but not burnt) or nice crust, do not put lid on, just place oil splatter screen on the pan.

(My) rule of thumb when frying fish: when the sizzling sound starts to die down or subside, it's time to flip the fish and fry the other side. I learned this trick from my mother who was born and raised in Binmaley, a town in Pangasinan where there are fish ponds all over the place.
There is no science to this but it works for me all the time.

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