Blue Cod are a renowned eating fish and arguably New Zealand’s finest seafood offering. And of those caught, Blue Cod from Chatham Island waters are sought out by top chefs around the world. Good chefs are adept at bringing out the best flavours in the species — the delicate sweetness that comes from lush, well-defined flakes of flesh. So how do you get the most from your Chatham Blue Cod at home? And how do top chefs tell when fish is perfectly cooked? Read on to find out!
The secret to knowing when your Blue Cod fillet is perfectly cooked is dot spotting. As your blue cod fillet cooks its muscle fibres will contract. This forces the cod’s internal protein to rise — presenting as tiny white dots on the surface of the fish. Your fish is ready to come off the heat just before these spots appear.
Perhaps the biggest challenge when preparing fish is keeping the flesh together once it’s cooked. Remember the transition from almost done to perfectly cooked happens in minutes. The residual heat in fish means it will continue to cook for a few minutes, even after it’s removed from heat.
To be on the safe side, and until you get a feel for protein spotting, we suggest a knife-based check. Some recipes suggest cooking fish until it flakes. But by that time, it can be dry. One good readiness check involves sliding a knife through a seam in the fish flesh. Gently pry to see if the fish has lost its translucency. If you see a tiny bit of translucency in the centre, take it off the heat — by the time you serve it, the fish will be cooked through.