Home Cooked Fish
Grilling salmon or cooking scallops like a pro is much easier than you might think. Many people shy away from preparing seafood at home because it seems so different from chicken, pork and beef. But even a novice cook can make delicious seafood. Just be sure to listen to these Do’s and Don’ts for cooking fish.
Do’s & Don’ts for Cooking Seafood
- Ask the fishmonger at your local fish market what is in season and when the fish arrived. Fish tastes best when it is in season and less than 4 days old.
- Pay attention to the color and smell of seafood when you buy it. Fresh fish fillets and fish steaks should be firm, moist and elastic.
- Prepare seafood within 24 hours of purchasing it or move it to the freezer to preserve its taste and texture.
- Keep fish and shellfish refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to prepare them.
- Thaw frozen fish and shellfish with cool water. (To thaw shrimp or scallops, place them in a strainer and run cool water over them until they thaw. To thaw fish, place the fish in a resealable plastic bag and put it in a bowl of cool water. It should thaw out in 40 minutes or less).
- Run cold water over the fish or shellfish and then pat it dry with a paper towel before cooking it.
- Keep your eyes on it while it is cooking. Seafood cooks quickly! Unless you are using a slow cooking method, be sure to keep a close eye on your fish or shellfish so that it doesn’t overcook.
- Allow fish to rest for a minute or two before serving.
- Thaw fish or seafood under hot water or at room temperature! Both methods can create a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
- Allow seafood to marinate in an acid-based marinade for more than 15 minutes. Acids like lemon juice or vinegar will begin to “cook” fish if it marinates in them for too long. It can give the fish a mushy texture. Dry rubs and oil-based marinades are best for seafood.
- Overcook it! You can remove white fish, scallops, and shrimp from the heat when they look opaque instead of translucent. Remove salmon and other darker fish from the heat when they flake when tested with a fork.
A quick, easy and delicious way to cook shrimp, scallops or white fish is to dust it with salt and pepper and toss it lightly in flour. Then sauté it in butter or olive oil. Angel hair pasta with fresh vegetables and a light, lemony sauce is a great side dish with shellfish. Green beans with sliced almonds or garlic cauliflower are tasty side dishes with white fish.
If you’d rather throw fish on the grill or in the broiler, choose a hearty fish like salmon, Atlantic mackerel or swordfish. These fish are perfect for these high heat methods because they aren’t as delicate and have a higher fat content. Garlic and herb mashed potatoes or brussels sprouts are good side dishes for fish like salmon.
Browse our recipes for more ideas! If you want more tips on how to prepare seafood like a pro, stop by City Fish Market! Our fishmongers would be happy to share the tips and tricks with you!