The enjoyment of delicious fish dishes continues to grow around the world. Salmon, tilapia, cod and other species enjoy huge popularity for their incredible taste and versatility in the kitchen. Fish can be cooked in almost every way imaginable including steaming, poaching, baking, broiling, and grilling. As most fish cooks in mere minutes, you can focus on getting your dish cooked to perfection and have plenty of time to tend to accompanying dishes.
With the growing popularity of fish, it is important to choose fish from the species whose stocks are not declining due to overfishing, pollution, climate change, and many other factors. The fish we put on our plates come from all over the world. Knowing how these fish were caught, whether they were farmed or wild, the habitat they were raised in, are necessary considerations for ensuring fish are plentiful and the right choice for cooking.
Fish come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, tastes, and textures. Shopping for fish can be a bit daunting. Aside from the sticker shock of many fish products, determining freshness isn’t always easy. At the supermarket, fish are kept behind counters or packaged in ways that make in difficult to determine if the fish is the right choice for purchase on that day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t be afraid to substitute one fish for another, if the product is better and fresher.
Take a good look at the fish you are buying, whether whole fish, or cut into fillets or steaks. Fish should be firm to the touch, and never smell fishy or unpleasant. The eyes on whole fish should be clear and bright, fish fillets and steaks should be shiny and moist.
Most fish are an excellent source of protein, and are low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and carbohydrates. All fish are a good source of B vitamins; many are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. Oil rich fish such as salmon, halibut, mackerel, and swordfish are excellent sources of A and D vitamins, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids. The nutritional values can vary significantly from one species to another. The freshness of the fish, the cut of the fish, and the method for fish preparation can impact the ultimate health benefits the dish provides.
Fresh Fish Handling and Preparation
Ideally fish should be eaten the same day of purchase. Refrigerate fish, or place on ice until ready to use. The fish should be maintained at a temperature between 32 F. and 40 F. for best kept freshness. Leave fish in their packaging while storing, unless poorly packaged. Wrap fish in plastic bags when necessary to avoid leakage and interaction with other foods.
Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry before cooking. Leave skin on when preparing fish and remove when the fish has been thoroughly cooked, if desired. Fish can stick to grill grates, pans, and baking sheets when cooked so use precautionary measures such as appropriate cookware selection, proper lubrication, parchment paper, and trusted cooking techniques.
Fish is enjoyed raw every day by millions of people in the form of sushi or sashimi. Fish can be cooked using both dry and moist heat techniques. With either method, most fish cooks very quickly. Generally speaking, the dish you are preparing will dictate the cooking method you choose. The color and texture of fish changes as it cooks, giving you a gauge to how your fish is progressing as it is prepared. Practice makes perfect. Overcooked means the fish is firmer with less moisture, not necessarily desirable, but still very edible. Remember that fish continues to cook when removed from the heat source, optimally your fish is removed when ever so slightly undercooked and it finishes cooking from residual heat.
Fish is an excellent choice for any occasion. The variety of fish recipes is endless and the fresh, delicate, clean taste of fish is perfect for appetizers, salads, soups, side dishes, and entrees. From classic fare to exciting new ideas, fish recipes should be a part of your culinary repertoire. Fish is delicious and healthy. Choose from our growing selection of dishes, currently featuring 10 fish species. Enjoy our easy to follow recipes, with special guidelines on how to store, prepare, and cook fish.