Popular Cooking Methods for Fish

by Jana Banks

Fish is a wonderfully nutritional food, rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation, enhance our cognitive and behavioral function and help in the prevention of heart disease and arthritis. While many reports over the years have put a good scare into fish-lovers with news of the high level of mercury found in our seafood, the general expert consensus advises we eat it in moderation, having about 2 servings a week. There are a variety of ways to prepare and cook some of your favorite fish – here are some classics, along with a few tips for making sure your dish turns out well.

Broiled is ideal for fish that when dressed has a thin, flat surface with its oils distributed throughout the flesh, such as bluefish, shad or mackerel. Whether broiling on charcoal, electric or gas, first brush the fish well with butter or oil and be sure to cook evenly and slowly. Baste with butter once or twice more while broiling, for an average total cooking time of around 15 or 20 minutes, turning periodically as needed.

Baked fish is another very popular preparation method when baking dryer type fish, but you’ll want to be sure to baste the fish well to maintain its taste and texture. Some ideal fish to bake includes halibut, salmon, bass, whitefish, and bluefish. Another delicious dish is baked stuffed fish, stuffed with something such as a small amount of crabmeat or vegetable-based stuffing.

Frying is ideal for any small fish and fillet. Preparation is simple: after cleaning and washing the fish, just season it with salt and pepper. Then roll it in flour; immerse it in egg yolks and then cover with breadcrumbs. When frying, it’s important to make sure that the fish is completely covered with the egg and breadcrumbs so the fish can have an oil-proof barrier. The cooking fat must be hot – smoking hot – and well maintained throughout the cooking process. And finally, make sure you drain the fish of all the fat and oil after it’s finished frying.

Sauted is another great option for small fish or fish pieces. Season with salt and pepper then roll in flour or fine dry breadcrumbs, and proceed to cook in hot fat, turning when golden brown and cooking both sides evenly. Make sure that the fat in the pan covers just enough of the pan to keep the fish from sticking.

It’s a good idea to introduce some color to your fish dish by adding a garnish (such as parsley, tomato slices, lemon slices or wedges, cucumber twists) and serve with a side of tasty rice and some fresh green vegetables and you’re all set with a nutritious and delicious meal!

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