Fish is one of the trickiest foods to prepare in terms of cooking time as it can go from underdone to dry and overcooked in a matter of seconds. Getting it just right is particularly important with fish, if not, you risk compromising its texture and flavour and destroying all its goodness. There are a number of techniques to help you hit the spot, but a good rule of thumb is to always go by the size and weight of the fish.
When cooked to perfection, fish should be juicy with no signs of blood, especially in the thicker areas or near the bone and it should flake easily with a fork. If in doubt, it’s better for fish to be a minute undercooked rather than the other way round. This way the residual heat will work in your favour. A minute too long, however, and it’ll be too dry and chewy. Either way, be sure to make the most of the skin, which adds a wonderful crunch when crispy.
There are a number of techniques to achieve perfectly cooked fish without too much stress. One of them is to salt bake by covering with a layer of coarse salt and baking it at 180°C for 25 to 45 minutes. When you take it out of the oven and crack open the salt, you’ll see perfect results. Another delicious method using salt is to cook fish en papillote, by wrapping it up in parchment or aluminium foil parcels.