Guide to Slow Cooking Fish & Seafood
Many people tend to overlook fish as a food to be prepared in a slow
cooker. However, this method of preparation is great for seafood as it
helps retain the fish’s natural, subtle flavour. Cut fish can be used in
a variety of dishes including soups, pastas, stews, and casseroles.
Meanwhile, whole fish can be easily steamed or poached in the slow
cooker. Since fish cooks faster than meats, most dishes will only need
two to five hours in the slow cooker to reach their optimum flavour.
After the fish has finished cooking, it should not be left to warm in
the slow cooker. This can dry it out. So, plan to serve your meal
immediately when it finishes.
Types of Fish
There are many different kinds of fish, and how you prepare your meal
depends up on the species you choose. Round fish, which includes cod,
salmon, mackerel, and haddock, are generally the largest kinds of
seafood. Consequently, they will usually be too large to cook whole in a
slow cooker. Instead, you should look for slow cooker recipes that call
for just fillet or steak cuts from these fish. Such cuts are available
at most supermarkets. However, if you are starting with a whole fish,
you will need to cut it yourself or take it to a professional
fishmonger. Flat fish tend to be smaller than round fish. Species in
this category include sole and plaice. Since flat fish are relatively
inactive for most of their lives, their flesh is less muscular.
Subsequently, you will discover a more delicate texture when cooking
these fish varieties.
Poaching is a great way to prepare virtually any type of fish. Simply
place your fish in the slow cooker, cover with your liquid of choice,
usually stock, wine, or water, and add some spices. Simple flavours like
bay leaves and parsley work best for these dishes. Cooking time for
poaching can be as short as 45 minutes, but this will vary depending on
your cooking appliance and the type of fish you choose. Meanwhile,
braising is a method well suited for flat fish. The delicate meat can be
rolled prior to cooking, a technique which really enhances flavour.
Shellfish in a Slow Cooker
Shellfish can also be prepared using a slow cooker. However, these
foods, with the exception of squid, do not benefit from a long cooking
time. Therefore, they should be used in soups or stews and added near
the end of heating. The most common shellfish for slow cooking is shrimp
or prawn. These can be prepared either in their shells or after the
shells have been removed. Some of the most popular recipes using shrimp
and prawns are jambalaya and gumbo, two dishes with powerful flavours.
Thai flavours are also popular in these slow cooked meals. Other
varieties of shellfish, like mussels and clams, are great for stew
recipes. They go great with a white wine or tomato based sauce.