Most fish have individual nuances of flavour rather than the powerful tastes of beef or game. When you are deciding whether to steam, poach or grill, consider whether the sauce or accompaniment will be too much for the fish. A sauce should either derive from the fish through its stock, or else highlight its flavour by providing a contrast. Grilling gives you a more concentrated taste that goes well with a robust flavoured sauce or vegetables which might have dominated a poached fish dish.
Salmon or sea trout grills very well. Its flavour is best if it is cooked with a fierce heat so that the skin becomes quite dark and crisp. If you fillet the fish, as I do, then cook it through the skin, not turning the flesh side towards the heat. This way the fish stays moist and the skin becomes crisp and delicious to eat. The same is true for salmon and red mullet.
This dish uses watercress and morel mushrooms to provide a contrast of flavour. Be careful not to use too much watercress, for although it gives a pretty green colour and is delicious in moderation, used in any quantity it would dominate the dish. If you cannot obtain morel mushrooms then leave them out rather than substitute button mushrooms. If you cannot get cr è me fraîche then use double cream and finish the sauce with a few drops of lemon juice.
Understanding by touch if the fish is cooked gets easier with experience. Fish cooked on the bone just won’t be filleted unless it is properly cooked, but fish cooked in fillets needs to be pressed or squeezed slightly. What you are feeling for is a springy, slightly rubbery reaction as if there were something tough or hard inside. This means it isn’t cooked and except with fish like salmon you will need a few moments more.
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