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Students Corner

 

FISH & SHELL FISH

Most fishes are edible and the world of fish represent as enormous source of good food. The most nourishing fishes come from the river: the eels, rohu etc. All fishes consists of nearly 75% of water and also the albuminoids consistency varies little from fish to fish ( about 18%). The fat content variation is very high. The fish has the advantage in the content of phosphorated compounds. Especially the lean fishes are much more easily digestible and hence represent as an excellent food for the sedentary workers and sick.

In general terms for recognition purpose, fish can be divided into two groups or types; the flat fishes which are to be found near the bottom of the sea; and the Round fishes which are commonly found swimming near the surface. There are also, of course, Shellfish (crustaceans and molluscs). All of these are further sub-divided, first into Sea or Fresh water fish, white fish, oily fish, etc.; and then into distinct families or groups.

Some types of Fishes

Fin fish
They are vertebrates and have skin and scales which cover the body. They move with the help of fins. They are subdivided into:

White fish
White fish are mainly flat fish, and contain oil only in the liver. Most of these are deep sea fish. Common local examples are pomfret, sole etc.

Oily fish
Oily fish are mainly round fish and contain fat all over the body. The amount of fat varies from 1.5% to 20% in different varieties. These fish are often pigmented and tend to be surface fish. Example: mackerels, sardines etc.

Shell fish
As the name denotes have a shell covering the body. They are invertebrates. They are subdivided into: Molluscs and Crustaceans.

Molluscs

Bivalves (e.g. oysters, scallops, mussels, clams and cockles) which have two distinctly separate shells joined by a hinge-like membrane. The movements of the shell are controlled by a strong muscle. When the muscle relaxes, the two halves of the shell fall open. The shell also open when the organism dies, thus exposing the contents of the shell to contamination from outside, resulting in quick putrefaction.

Univalves: (e.g. whelks and winkles) These are recognized by the characteristic spiral formation of their shells, which unlike those of bivalves are not divided into halves.
The shells of molluscs increase at the rate of one ring per year to allow for the growth of the organism. The age of the molluscs can thus be roughly estimated by the number of rings on the shell.

Crustaceans

Crustaceans have a segmented, crust-like shell (e.g. lobsters, crabs, prawns, shrimps). The shells of crustaceans do not grow with the fish, unlike those of the molluscs, but are shed every year, with a new one forming to suit their new size.

POINTS OF SELECTION OF FISH

Absolute freshness is essential if the best is to be obtained from any fish dish, both in flavour and nourishment. Stale fish are not only unappetizing but can also be the cause of digestive disorders or even poisoning. In these days of quick-freeze, of course, the bulk of the fish reaches the markets frozen and, if the fish was frozen whilst fresh and it is used immediately after defrosting, it will to all intents and purposes be equal to fresh fish, although some of the flavour will have been lost in refrigeration.

The following are some tests which can be applied to determine the freshness or otherwise of fish:

1. The eyes should be bright and ‘full’, not sunken;
2. The gills should be bright pinkish red in colour;
3. The flesh must be firm and springy, or elastic;
4. Scales, if any, should be plentiful, firm and should not come off when fish is handled;
5. The fish should have a pleasant, salty smell.

Sure signs and indications of staleness

1. an unpleasant ammoniac odour which increases with its staleness,
2. limp flesh retaining the imprint of one’s fingers,
3. Sunken eyes,
4. Gills dull and discolored.
The quality is determined by the condition of the skin, which should be shining and of good colour. The flesh of white fish should be really white, not yellowish. The fish should feel heavy in relation of size, the flesh plump and springy.

CLEANING OF FISH

De-scaling And Cleaning

1. Soaking the fish in cold water for a few minutes before descaling, helps in removing scales more easily.
2. The blunt side of the knife should be used.
3. The head of the fish is held with the left hand and holding the knife vertical, scraping is done starting from the tail, working towards the head, the scales are scraped off. The fish is then washed to remove any loose scales.
4. Cut off the fins, remove the head. The entrails should be removed by cutting the length of the fish from the vent end to the head on the belly side.

Filleting

Cut the flesh along the line of the backbone and raise the fillet from the middle of the back, to the sides, first working towards the head, then the tall.

Skinning

Hold the tail end of the fish in the left hand, first sprinkling salt on the fingers for a good grip. Skin the flesh (skin side down) from tail to head, with quick short sawing strokes of a sharp knife. Point the knife blade towards the skin so that no flesh is wasted.

BASIC CUTS

La Darne A slice or steak of round fish on the bone. E.g. Darne de Saumon, Darne
De cabillaud.

Le Troncon A slice or steak of flat fish on the bone. E.g. Troncon de Turbot, Troncon
De barbue.

Le Filet A fillet of fish, usually from a small fish without bones. E.g. Filet de sole,
Filet de plie.

Le Supreme Applied to large fillets of fish, cut into portion on the slant e.g. Supreme
de Fletan, Supreme de Aigrefin.

Le Delice Applied to neatly folded fillets of fish e.g. Delice de Sole, Delice de
Merlan.

Le Goujon Applied to fillet of fish cut into strips approx. 6 cm. x ½ cm. (3 in x ¼
in) usually floured, egg-washed and bread crumbed e.g. Goujon de Plie,
Goujon de Sole.

La Paupiette This term is applied to fillets of smaller fish, usually sole which are
stuffed with farce, fish or vegetables, or mixture of both, neatly rolled into a barrel shape, tied or pinned.

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