Best Tips for Cooking Delicious Fish Recipes
Fish is quick and easy to prepare at home. One of the benefits of making fish for dinner is that it usually has a much shorter cook time than other meats like beef or chicken. You do have to beware not to overcook it since it is more delicate. The best cooking method for seafood depends on the type of fish you are preparing. We’ve put together this guide to help you determine the best cooking method for your favorite types of seafood so that you can make restaurant-quality dishes at home.
How to Choose the Right Cooking Method
There are five different characteristics of fish and shellfish to keep in mind when choosing a cooking method: fat content, thickness, size and cut, skin or no skin, and flavor.
Dry cooking methods like baking, roasting, and grilling are best for fattier or thick-cut fish. These cooking methods can also be used for fish with the skin on since there is less chance that these fish will dry out cooking. Wet cooking methods like baking, steaming and poaching are best for leaner or delicate seafood and thin fillets. These methods will prevent the fish from drying out.
Fish Fat Content
Leaner seafood dries out much faster than fattier seafood. When choosing a cooking method, it’s important to keep this in mind. Dry, high heat methods like grilling and roasting are best for fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Wet cooking methods like poaching or steaming are best for lean seafood like sole and shrimp.
The thickness of a fish fillet or shellfish will affect how long it needs to cook. A general rule of thumb is that each ¼ inch requires 2 ½ minutes of cooking time. A thick cut of fish, like a swordfish steak, that requires more time isn’t ideal for a quick-cooking method like frying or broiling.
Size & Cut
Fish are available whole, filleted or as steaks. The size and cut of the fish will affect how quickly it cooks.
Skinned or Not
Cooking fish with the skin on helps it to stay moist. If you are cooking skinless fish, you have to be more conscious about choosing a method that won’t dry it out.
Natural Fish Flavor
Some types of fish have a rich flavor, like salmon, while others have a mild taste, like cod. It is best to choose a method that complements the fish’s flavor instead of overwhelming it.
Recommended Cooking Methods for Popular Kinds of Seafood
Pan-frying is a popular cooking method for seafood. It gives it a delicious crispy crust and tender center. This cooking method is great for lean fish fillets, steaks, and small whole fish or shellfish. It isn’t ideal for fatty fish like salmon. The best seafood to pan-fry or sauté are:
- Arctic char
Baking is the best method for many types of seafood because it is easy to prevent the fish from drying out. This method is recommended for thick fish steaks that require longer cooking times and whole fish including stuffed fish. Basting fish while it bakes will keep it moist. This method is recommended for:
- Arctic char
Broiling cooks meat quickly from the top down. Sturdy fish that aren’t too thick stands up well to this dry, high heat cooking method especially if the fish has a marinade or glaze. The fish we recommend for broiling are:
- Black cod
Grilling is a dry, hot cooking method similar to broiling except that it gives seafood a pleasant smoky flavor. Wrapping fish in aluminum foil before you put it on the grill is a smart way to prevent it from falling apart or drying out if you grill a more delicate fish. You can use this method for whole fish, fillets or steaks. It’s best for fatty fish that won’t dry out in the heat. The fish we recommend for the grill are:
Nothing beats deep-fried seafood! This quick, hot cooking method is best for mild or neutral-flavored white meat fish. To ensure it cooks fully at the same rate as the batter, use either small whole shellfish or bite-sized cuts of fish. We recommend frying:
Poaching or cooking seafood in a liquid—such as water, milk, broth or wine—is perfect for delicate kinds of seafood and thin fillets that could dry out easily. It also enhances the flavor of mild-tasting seafood. It’s recommended for:
Using steam to cook seafood is one of the most popular methods for preparing shellfish. It is also one of the healthiest ways to cook since it doesn’t require any oil. Steaming is recommended for:
Following these guidelines for choosing the best cooking method can help you make mouthwateringly good seafood. Studies show that getting at least 2 servings of seafood a week has numerous health benefits. Learning how to cook it well makes it easier to incorporate into your regular diet. Get more tips for preparing seafood and pick up fresh fish for dinner at City Fish Market!