Fish are consumed in various forms, from raw ones – the famous Japanese Sushi – to thermal treatment (cooking, frying, grilling). Many species of fish are also suitable for drying (one of the methods of fish preservation), but traditionally dried fish in Iceland are cods, haddocks, catfish and flounders. A proper drying process should be done outdoors, in dry and cool conditions. The drying time depends on the wind, air temperature and humidity.
We can boil whole fish (with heads or without them) as well as in a form of bells, fillets, or fishballs. In any case, they should be put into hot broth with vegetables and spices. Large pieces (carps, catfish and pikes) should be cooked slowly in special vessels enabling easy removal, while maintaining a state of a light boiling for about half an hour. Small fish, fillets do not require a long cooking time, just about 15 minutes, longer cooking will literally melt fish in broth, and we do not want that to happen.
Baked fish dishes are very tasty. Fish are baked in whole pieces or portions, which are covered with spices (basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper). We use baking ovens or grills. Baking fish wrapped in aluminum foil to protect the food from losing juice and flavor can provide a very good effect. In the ancient times, in traditional Polish cuisine this was achieved by wrapping fish in unleavened dough or clay. It is also good to bake fried or cooked fish with suitably chosen sauce, such as béchamel, tomato or mushroom sauce, sprinkling with plenty of vegetables. The filling of fish is important. We can use Feta cheese combined with olives, dried tomatoes and spices. A piece of trout baked on a grill this way, and generously sprinkled with lemon juice, will be an excellent course.
Smoking consists in saturating animal and fish with wood smoke and evaporating of water. Smoked fish changes its colour, taste and smell. Its surface is covered by a dried skin protecting meat against bacteria and ensuring juiciness. Smoked products are resistant to going rancid. The taste and properties of smoked meat depend on several factors such as type of wood used, smoking temperature, freshness of products, spices, and a smokehouse.
A real treat are smoked fish – smoked trout, salmons, eels valued by many gourmets. These products are recognized all around the world.
Unfortunately, large amounts of smoked fish are hard to digest and should be consumed in controlled quantities. Lemons and limes are indispensable partners of smoked fish.