John Dory Giradet & Albumin

Known as St. Peter’s Fish, in reference to a legend that states the black spots represent St. Peters fingerprint hence “thumbprint” markings permeated th fish’s body when he picked it up from the sea.

This fish is mild in taste and low in fat content, thin profile and large head is one-third of the fish’s body weight. And caution, the fillets can be over-cooked so easily – how do we best cook it? Lets begin with cooking the fish as a whole or if you are daring and prefer to cook the fish separately of the head and try to follow Chef Steps:

Now the cooking, complicated if you experiment as it is so easy to overcook this fish. It remains absolutely one of the trickiest fish to cook to perfection, due to the low fat content, low collagen and especially when it’s exposed to dry heat in an oven. Now consider the idea of baking the fish using cellophane or baking paper to maintain a steamy-wet and moist environment and pay careful attention to the cooking temperature.

If you see any white foam it is a result of wrong cooking and you risk to over cook and have a dry and rigid fish. The Albumin (the white stuff) plays an important roles in the processes of metabolism in all fish bodies. Albumin functions to maintain blood osmotic pressure, helps transport metabolites, fatty acids, hormones, bilirubin, and filters fluids in body tissues.

The amount of albumin extracted and recovered from fish meat is affected by extraction temperature, fish meat quality, size reduction of meat, fat content, etc. The temperature used during extraction facilitates the opening of albumin structure and it leaks out and coagulates.

Albumin exists in meat and it oozes out of hamburgers during cooking forming gray globules. Albumin coagulation happens when exposed to heat however, you can stabilize the protein by using a 10% salt brine for about 20-minutes before cooking. The salt partially dissolves the muscle fibers near the surface of the flesh, so when cooked they congeal without contracting and squeezing out albumin.

So the use of a proper temperature on protein is needed explained that heating affected permeability of cell wall and hence accelerating the release of cell plasma. Heating at high temperature will cause protein to coagulate and it looks unpleasant.

If you’re not sure what cooking method best suits your fish, lean fish generally benefit from wet-cooking methods, such as poaching and steaming. emember albumin protein is in all muscle tissue and it certainly coagulates when exposed to heat, an unsightly white substance it takes so experimentation to get it right.