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
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 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 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,
As the name denotes have a shell covering the body. They are
invertebrates. They are subdivided into: Molluscs and
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 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
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
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.
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.
La Darne A slice or steak of round fish on the bone. E.g.
Darne de Saumon, Darne
Le Troncon A slice or steak of flat fish on the bone. E.g.
Troncon de Turbot, Troncon
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
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.