Fish is one of the simplest meats to prepare and can be an important part of a healthy diet, especially those varieties that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Three of the healthiest ways to cook your fish are to bake, pan fry or grill.
- Always rinse your fish in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel prior to seasoning.
- Your fish is cooked when the color becomes opaque (white) from its original translucent state.
- Be sure not to over-cook your fish until it "flakes," this indicates that the fish is becoming dry.
Baking is one the easiest ways to prepare fish. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Use a nonstick spray and lightly coat a shallow baking dish or baking sheet. Place the fish fillet skin side down. Season the fillet with herbs, seasonings or a light rub. Bake 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish is done.
Preheat your non-stick skillet on medium high heat. You can also use a non-stick spray if preferred. Season the top of the fillet and cook each side 4 to 6 minutes (per inch of thickness) or until done.
When grilling fish you need to be aware of several variables that may affect the grilling time. Cooking time depends on the thickness of your fish, your type of grill (charcoal or gas), the distance of the fish from the heat source and if your grill uses a cover or lid.
Heat your gas grill for 10 minutes on high with the lid closed. Brush your grill with olive oil to prevent sticking (or remove the grill grate and spray with a non-stick spray. For best results the grill should be about 6 inches from the heat. Place your fish on the grill rack (do not overlap) and if you prefer you can a grill basket. Cook fish for about 4 to 6 minutes per side (per inch of thickness) or until done.
Here it is really a matter of taste. You can lightly season just the top of your fish fillet or you can use a rub. For a dry rub you can sprinkle the seasoning on evenly and then pat it into the fish. Be sure to cover both sides evenly. For a wet rub lightly coat the fish with olive oil before applying the rub (use the same pat in technique).
Unlike chicken or steak which we like to add our rubs and then refrigerate for 2-24 hours we find it best to only have the seasoning or rub sit on the fish for 10-15 minutes before cooking. Any longer and the texture of the meat starts to break down and the fish isn’t as flavorful.
Now you can also create your own favorite fish seasonings but you should be aware that not all seasonings work well with fish. Here is a great start to see which spices and herbs go best with fish.