IELTS® Listening Practice 84

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 2: You will hear a radio presenter talking about different types of fish. First, you will have some time to look at questions 11 to 20 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 11 to 20.)

Radio presenter: 

Good morning, listeners. Today we are talking about different types of fish, and how to cook them. Fish is always a popular dish, both for everyday meals and for special occasions, but there are so many varieties and cooking styles. What should you choose? Don't worry; today's show will help you. 

There is so much to cover when it comes to seafood, as it encompasses an entire ecosystem rather than a single animal. Much of what we'll cover will touch on all the basic types of seafood, the features they have, the preferred cooking methods, as well as general rules of thumb. We'll focus on the typical varieties common to most cooks.

Now, in terms of fish, they can be divided into 2 categories – Flatfish and Round fish. From here, we can further break down this category to include fresh water and salt water, as well as fat fish and lean types of fish.

Round fish are those that many are already familiar with. They are cylindrical in shape and have the characteristics we've grown to identify with. Some popular round fish include cod, sardines, salmon and tuna.

The fattiness or leanness of the different types of fish is how we determine the proper cooking methods. Many round fish are fatty, and lend themselves well to baking, frying and grilling due to the ability to maintain their juiciness. Some fatty fish do not hold up well to deep-frying due to the fish having a tendency to become too soft. On the other hand, lean fish are best prepared using moist-heat methods such as poaching and steaming, and can be used in such dishes like soups and chowders.

Now, what about flatfish? There are only a few commercially available fish that can be categorised as being flat fish. All types of flatfish are lean and have a firm, delicate texture. The different types of flat fish available include flounder, sole, halibut and turbot. Poaching and frying this type of fish is recommended.

Then, of course, there are shellfish. These include clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. There are many varieties of each, and they all have a unique taste and flavour. They are best served lightly steamed or raw but can also be baked in the shell. A shucked oyster can be added to stews or chowders. 

Cephalopods do not have an outer shell. The most popular of the cephalopods are octopus and squid. These are generally very tough and require long, moist-heat cooking for a tender product. You generally want to simmer an octopus or squid for many hours and never boil it. If the meat is boiled, it will turn out very tough. Once the meat is tenderised, it can be further prepared by grilling, frying or baking. 

Finally, we come to crustaceans. A crustacean is found in both fresh and salt water. They are defined by having a hard outer shell that protects their sweet, tender meat. There are many types of crustaceans including crabs, lobsters, shrimp and prawns. The flesh is sweet and lean, and can be simmered whole and served hot or cold. 

Shrimp and prawns are found worldwide and are very popular. The difference between the terms shrimp and prawn is the location in where it was caught. Freshwater prawns are referred to as prawns while marine species are referred to as shrimp. In commercial practice, a prawn is considered to be a large variety of shrimp. There are dozens of varieties available and are often classified by size. They are highly versatile and can be prepared using a wide array of cooking methods.

So, hopefully this should help you familiarise yourself with the vast amount of available fish and shellfish, and the proper cooking methods you need to serve up a superior dish. 

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