Cooking Louisiana  -  Cooking Fish
Fish in Louisiana are a great staple and almost as much so as rice. Fish dishes in South Louisiana are fried, broiled/baked, Courtbullion, stuffed and sauce piquant. See "Seafood" for further discussion on Fish...

Fish, as most seafood, takes little time to cook. Depending on the thickness, a few minutes on each side and it's ready to gobble up. Try not to overcook fish when frying because it will dry out quickly. There is nothing worse than leather fish, and, if you overcook fish in a sauce it most likely will fall apart and you'll have a fish dish in name and taste only!

When cooking fish gravies like Courtbullion put a few pieces of fish in early and let them cook until they fall apart. Doing this adds more fish flavor and gives the dish a little more consistency. The remaining pieces will go in almost last, cook for a few minutes according to thickness then the fire is turned off. Stir the pot gently so the fish doesn't fall to pieces. In the olden days (I love that saying!) it wouldn't be unusual to find a few fish heads in the Courtbullion to add flavor and to extract the remaining meat.

Baking fish is pretty easy and with this method you can really season them perfectly. Use real butter if you can have it, a little lemon, fresh parsley and other seasonings as you like them. If you have a large whole fish make one inch slits in it lengthways in several spots (not the whole length) along the spine and to the bone. Put your seasonings in these slits. You want to season the fish from the bone outward. Slitting the fish perpendicular to the spine (the traditional method) leaves a fish that tastes good in one spot and not the next.

Tarter and rémoulade sauce go well with fish as does lemon and basil.

Seasoning fish is for the most part done externally in that the cooking process is so quick the seasonings don't penetrate the meat well. The external seasoning is generally what determines the type of dish.

When seasoning fish watch the salt. Fish will not pick up pepper like it will salt just be careful.

Always serve fish right out the pan or oven; it's at it's best then.

Bon' Appetite'