Fish provides another class of high-protein or tissue-building food. As this term is generally understood, it includes both vertebrate fish that is, fish having a backbone such as salmon, cod, shad etc. And many other water animals such as lobsters, crabs, shrimp, oysters and clams.
As is well known, fish is an extremely perishable food https://expressfishings.com/. Therefore, when it is caught in quantities too great to be used at one time, it is preserved in various ways. As such methods are usually carried out in the locality where the fish is caught, many varieties of fish can be conveniently stored for long periods of time and so distributed as to meet the requirements of the consumer.
Composition and classes of fish
In general, the composition of fish is similar to that of meat, for both of them are high-protein foods. In fish, as well as in shell fish, a very large proportion of the food substances present is protein. This proportion varies with the quantity of water, bone, and refuse that the particular food contains, and with the physical structure of the food. The varieties of fish that contain the most fat deteriorate most rapidly and withstand transportation the least. Fish containing a large amount of fat such as salmon, turbot, eel, herring, halibut, mackerel, mullet, butterfish and lake trout have a more moist quality than those which are without fat such as cod.
Classes of fish
According to the quantity of fat it contains, fish may be divided into two classes, dry, or lean fish, and oily fish. Fish may also be divided into two classes, according to the water in which they live, fish from the sea being termed ‘salt-water fish’, and those from rivers and lakes are ‘fresh-water fish’.
Food value of fish
The total food value of fish, as has been shown, is high or low, varying with the food substances it contains. Therefore, since weight for weight, the food value of fat is much higher than that of protein, it follows that the fish containing the most fat has the highest food value. Fat and protein, as is well known, do not serve the same function in the body, but each has its purpose and is valuable and necessary in the diet. So far as the quantity of protein is concerned, fish are valuable in their tissue-forming and tissue-building qualities. Nutritive value of fish may be lost in its preparation, if proper methods are not applied.
To obtain as much food value from fish as possible, the various points that are involved in its cookery must be thoroughly understood. When the value of fish as a food is to be determined, its digestibility must receive definite consideration. Much depends on the way it is cooked. The ease with which fish is digested is influenced largely by the quantity of fat it contains. In addition to the correct cooking of fish and the presence of fat, a factor that largely influences the digestibility of this food is the length of the fibers of the flesh. It will be remembered that the parts of an animal having long fibers are tougher and less easily digested than those having short fibers.
Preparation of fish for cooking
It is important to determine whether or not fish is fresh. Fish should not give off any offensive odor. The first step for cleaning fish consists in removing the scales. With the fish scaled, proceed to remove the entrails. Then cut off the head, fins and tail if desired and wash it in cold water. Many recipes require fish to be cut into fillets, that is, thick and flat slices from which the bone is removed.