Hi Helen,Thanks for a great question, Alanna!
Do you know why do recipes sometimes (but not always) suggest rinsing filets?
Seems so basic -- I'm guessing it's for health/bacteria reasons but if that's the case, yuck, who wants to eat fish in the first place (is the reaction I have and I'm guessing others as well)?
And if it IS for health/bacteria reasons, then why don't recipes
suggest the same thing for chicken, pork, etc???
Many thanks --
You don't need to rinse fish, chicken, pork, or any other meat before cooking. Not only does it not get rid of bacteria, it spreads bacteria (if water splashes from the sink in the process of rinsing). What kills bacteria much more effectively is cooking.
So why do so many cooks rinse their fish and chickens? Because their mothers used to ;)
Here is a quote from Cook's Illustrated on the subject:
Not only is there no scientific evidence to support your mother's practice, science is actually against you on this one. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as food agencies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, advises against washing poultry. Rinsing chicken will not remove or kill much bacteria, and the splashing of water around the sink can spread the bacteria found in raw chicken. (Cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit effectively destroys the most common culprits behind food-borne illness.)Fish is not fundamentally different from chicken, so you don't have to rinse it.