Baked fish is much easier to make than you think. I grew up on the east coast so we ate fish all the time at home, but I know this isn’t true for most people and eating fish is often something ordered in restaurants.
But fish is easy to cook, especially whole baked fish, as long as you don’t treat it like poultry or beef. It will impress your friends and family to bring out a whole baked fish and it is so wonderful you don’t need elaborate recipes.
One of the most important parts of cooking fish is to begin with quality product and that can be intimidating. If you go to a reputable fish shop you’re sure to find great fish.
Today I went to Chinatown and it’s fantastic for some food because there’s so much turnover but the fishmongers don’t speak much English and I don’t speak Vietnamese, Cantonese or Mandarin so I can’t ask two things that are really important to me:
1) if it’s fresh
2) if it’s sustainable
So I always arm myself with Oceanwise iPhone app to check its sustainability rating and keep in mind the basics of fresh fish.
How to Know if Fish is Fresh
1. It shouldn’t smell. Fresh fish smells fresh like the ocean, if it smells like it’s “fishy” it’s been hanging around for too long.
2. Bright, plump, clear. Stay away from fish with cloudy eyes – it’s a sure sign of aging.
3. Shiny, firm skin that bounces back when you touch it. If it’s spongy and doesn’t bounce back it’s old.
Panasonic recently reached out to us to see if we wanted to test the new 4 in 1 Steam Convection Oven. After having luck making microwave risotto with Panasonic’s newest Cyclonic microwave, I was willing to give it a chance.
Especially as this unit is a combination steamer, convection oven, microwave and griller.
The 19 auto cook settings use steam, convection or grilling in combination with microwave cooking to deliver perfectly cooked food; often not needing oil. With high-density turbo steam you can steam vegetables quickly, keeping the nutrients and also making steaming easy.
But I wanted to test the convection oven.
The difference between a convection oven and regular oven is how the heat is distributed. In a regular oven heat comes from the top, bottom or both to heat the food. In a convection oven a fan circulates the heat which makes cooking faster and more even.
As the heat is moving it means crispier crusts and better browning, which is great for fish skin. Convection ovens usually require less heat as well – about 25F/4C degrees less.
This is serious cooking business.
Whole Baked Fish
Note: if you don’t have Korean chili powder you can substitute with ½ tbsp. black pepper, cayenne pepper or your favourite spice. This is whole baked fish makes for a versatile recipe.
Overall we’re fans, we really liked the control that the convection oven provides and we didn’t have to worry about soggy fish skin. You do need to stay close the first few times you prepare it to learn how quickly things will cook. As it’s also a steamer and microwave oven this appliance is perfect for the small kitchen in our apartment.
I also think the Panasonic 4 in 1 Convection Steam Oven would be great for my mother as her oven is starting to die. It seems silly to buy a big new oven as she’s on her own and I think she would really like the option to easily steam vegetables after work.