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Old 02-13-2008, 01:47 PM   #1
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How to bake a fish brown and yet not cause it to be dry

how do you bake a fish in the oven till light brown and yet not cause it to lose its moisture?

have tried pan frying it first till slightly brown and then baking it however its still dry after finish

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Old 02-13-2008, 01:49 PM   #2
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Are you breading it?

The key to moist fish is to not overcook it. It needs to be cooked just until done and not a second more.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:16 PM   #3
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cookee, top it with a compound butter (basil dill is my fave) and bake at fairly high temp, around 400 or higher.

if you have a good broiler, pop it under there instead of the oven.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:27 PM   #4
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What kind of fish are you using? If it's too thin (i.e., tilapia, flounder), baking won't brown it - it will always finish cooking before it browns. I would just pan-fry these for a few minutes on each side.

If it's a thicker piece of fish - like salmon, tuna, swordfish, etc. - it can be broiled till browned, especially if it has a breadcrumb crust. Cook's Illustrated has a free recipe online for broiled salmon: Sophisticated Salmon for Two

HTH.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:30 PM   #5
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good point gg.

thin filets won't brown that well. they're best breaded and baked/fried, or just plainly pan fried. you could put them under a broiler, but they'd have to be on the closest position to the flame.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:34 PM   #6
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Maybe all you need to do is pan fry it with no time in the oven. Always start with your presentation side down. You can see it cook from the bottom up. Once it's almost half way cooked up turn over and do the same thing. Tent with a piece of foil and it will finish cooking. Very few times do I have to actually finish a piece of fish in the oven. If I am baking a fish I do it from start to finish and don't really expect it to be browned like you get from a skillet.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:58 PM   #7
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You need the appropriate fish for the appropriate cooking method. I grew up on pan fish and it is still my preferred method, but I can't wait until summer try a recipe given me here that calls for it wrapped in horseradish leaves...
Thin fillets for pan frying, thicker ones can be baked. Some with butter and herbs and some drizzled with EVOO and herbs, maybe some zest.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:35 PM   #8
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The best thing you can do is pan sear it on a very high heat. Get your pan very hot, then add your fat (butter, olive oil, vegetable oil), as soon as the fat is hot (mere seconds), add you fish. It will instantly be browned and crisped, sealing in the juices. At that point, you can finish it in the oven, which has already been preheated. Depending on the size of your fish, it could befinished in 5 minutes to 15 minutes.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:54 AM   #9
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fishy

hi all thanks.

i have tried salmon and pollock. I too read in a cook book somewhere that pan frying it to seal the juices and popping in the oven will keep the moist in. However still no success.. Maybe i lack butter like some of you guys mentioned here? I put in the oven clean with no butter.

or maybe the cuts i use are too thin. Will try again soon!


i also tried coating the pollock with rice flour and some bread crumbs and small squid fine chopped pieces and deep frying it...really good fish.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:53 AM   #10
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Searing does not seal in juices-- that's a kitchen myth -- but still is a good method of cooking fish and other proteins.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Searing does not seal in juices-- that's a kitchen myth -- but still is a good method of cooking fish and other proteins.
Beg to differ.....Searing the outer flesh creates a crust, holding in the juices. Not sure where you got your information from, but searing to hold in juices is most asuredly not a myth.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:22 PM   #12
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Beg to differ.....Searing the outer flesh creates a crust, holding in the juices. Not sure where you got your information from, but searing to hold in juices is most asuredly not a myth.
Alton Brown did an experiment and his conclusion was that it is a myth: http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Seaso...h_smashers.htm
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:50 PM   #13
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hmm...didn't know that its regarded as a kitchen myth!
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:00 PM   #14
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Alton Brown did an experiment and his conclusion was that it is a myth: http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Seaso...h_smashers.htm
Alton Brown is not the be all and end all of cooking. I trust what I do in my own kitchens, day in and day out. It hasn't disappointed me, yet.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:16 PM   #15
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the way that i've heard it, searing helps to hold in juices by driving them inward, not really from forming a seal on the surface.

it makes sense that by heating meat, you're agitating the molecules of moisture which makes them move. i'd guess some inward, some outward.

in accordance with alton's (faulty) experiment, some of the moisture near the surface is lost, but then some of it would be driven deeper too, right? so searing does work, but not the way commonly thought.





or i could be wrong.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:33 PM   #16
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Alton Brown is not the be all and end all of cooking. I trust what I do in my own kitchens, day in and day out. It hasn't disappointed me, yet.
No, of course not. He's not the only one who has debunked this myth, though. I don't know what you would consider an authority, so here are a couple of sources:
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:58 PM   #17
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yes its confusing for me today too...before have heard from quite a few that searing before oven seals in the moisture.

how long do you usually put a fish pieces of say around 300grms to 400grms about 1.5cm to 2cm thick in an oven? And how hot in the oven? ( if there is searing and if there is no searing)
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:27 PM   #18
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the way that i've heard it, searing helps to hold in juices by driving them inward, not really from forming a seal on the surface.
That is the way I heard it as well. It does not seal in the juices, it helps to seal in the juices. For me this means it slows down how fast the juices exit allowing you to get it cooked with more juices left in it at the end.

But mostly its the taste!
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:33 PM   #19
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Hi All,
This thread seem to have have developed somewhat. Is it about cooking fish or is it about browning or is it about both?

First, browning - browning is a PROCESS which, when applied to meat. fish, poultry, game and bread, results in the MAILLARD reaction. This is a reaction between the natural sugars present and the proteins, which on the addition of heat result in a browned exterior.

This result may be achieved by:
- sautéeing at high heat - e.g. browning chicken for Chicken Marengo or a Venison Braise;
- grilling or broiling - e.g., cooking a Dover Sole;
- deep fat frying - e.g., dipping whitebait in flour and frying;
- roasting - e.g., roasting a forerib of beef;
- searing a joint - e.g., leg of lamb prior to raosting or slow roasting;
- stir-fry - e.g., beef with asparagus, ginger and spring onion.

If, after browning, liquid is added, as is the case in Boeuf Bourguinonne, the "crust" achieved in browning dissolves over time to colour and/or thicken the dish.

Now, one final way of achiveing a dish that is in appearance is brown is by "red cooking", ie., cooking in soy sauce.

The original question was about cooking fish in the oven and achieving a "browned" result at the end of the cooking process.The muscle fibres of fish are very short and cook very quickly in comparison with those of all but the most tender of cuts of meat, e.g., filet mignon, fillet steak. In addition, there is vey little connective tissue in fish, unlike most meat cuts, which means that the fish will fall apart/dry out very quickly if overcooked. Consequently individual portions of fish should be browned, quickly using the skin as the medium/vehicle/part which is to be browned by pan frying before finishing either in the oven or on a reduced heat if using the top of the stove/cooker.

I think we need to know more about what DISH Cookee is trying to create. I appreciate that Cookee has mentioned specific weights/sizes etc., but if I go back to the previous page I`ll lose all that I`ve written thus far - I know this because I`ve done it twice already. It is possible that the recipe that Cookee is trying to make would be improved if it was not browned but finsihed with brown butter/beuree noisette just before serving.

OK, I appreciate that I`ve probably not answered anyone`s question(s) but I would like to hear from Cookee again regarding what dish are you wanting to make - is it for a commercial kitchen or a domestic situation. There is a bit of me that says the answer is much more simple than the original question.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:30 AM   #20
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hi .... i am trying to bake fish fillet pieces salmon and pollock in the oven but it always turns out dry. Have tried searing it on both sides before baking but still not too good.

but maybe my searing isn't done well enough.....

will be trying out some of the suggestions here soon. Its a domestic situation.
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