Cooking Fresh Fish

Fresh fish should not have a fishy smell, but should smell like the ocean.

How Much Fish to Buy?

Whole or round fish–3/4 to 1 lb. per person
Dressed or clean fish–1/2 to 3/4 lb. per person
Fillets and steaks–1/3 to 1/2 lb. per person
Preparing & Handling

  • Unless thoroughly iced, don’t leave seafood, raw or cooked, out of the refrigerator.
  • Store fresh fish cuts no longer than 24 hours. The fish should be unwrapped, rinsed and patted dry, and re-wrapped loosely in butcher or waxed paper and stored in the fridge.
  • If you are freezing fish, place it in plastic or other airtight wrap. Store for no more than one month. Thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator unwrapped, placed on several layers of paper towels, and loosely covered. Never thaw seafood on the counter at room temperature.

Important: Do not marinade seafood in a citrus-based marinade for more than 30 minutes, or it will begin to “cook”. Never put cooked seafood on the same platter used before it was cooked. Keep raw seafood separate from cooked seafood to avoid cross contamination.

Tip: Freezing a good piece of fish at home and cooking it two weeks later is preferable to keeping it refrigerated for 5-6 days before cooking it.

How to Cook Fresh Fish

Fat content is an important consideration when selecting fish for a particular cooking method. Lean fish are best cooked by moist methods such as steaming, poaching and baking. Oily fish baste themselves and are ideal for grilling and pan-frying.

The Ten Minute Rule

Measure the thickness of fish at its thickest point & cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness..This rule applies to baking in a 450 oven, frying, broiling, steaming and grilling. Cook a one inch thick fish steak 5 minutes per side. Add five minutes to cooking time for fish cooked in foil or sauce. Fish is done when the flesh is opaque and begins to flake easily.

Baking Fish

Cook at a high temperature-450 degrees. Estimate time following the time minute rule. Preheat the oven for best results.

Broiling Fish

Adjust the oven rack to about 5-6 inches for thick filets; and 2-3 inches for thin filets. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil the pan. Place marinated or lightly oiled fish in a single layer.

Deep Frying Fish

Maintain oil at 375. Drain fish on a wire cake rack and set in rimmed backing sheets

Pan-frying, Sautéing or Searing Fish

Use medium heat. Use a non-stick skillet or spray oil. You can also use a cast iron skillet with light butter or oil. Make sure fish is dry by patting it dry with a paper towel or applying a light dusting of flour

Grilling Fish

When grilling fish steaks, always leave the skin attached to seal in flavor. You can remove when serving. One of the most important things you can do is clean and oil your grill rack. (To clean a grill, turn the heat up high, close the lid. In ten minutes, turn off the grill and scrape the grid clean). Prior to starting the grill, coat the grill rack with vegetable oil. Use a paper towel or spray grill rack with cooking spray.

Grill fish on medium-high heat. Light charcoal grill 30 minutes in advance or start charcoal grill 10 minutes before cooking.

Tip: If using a marinade, allow fish to soak up flavor for at least 30 minutes. Always marinade fish in the refrigerator. Brush or pat both sides of the fish lightly with olive oil. Set fish on grill for 2-3 minutes to firm, Lift fish, flip and finish cooking 3-6 minutes more depending on the fish and its thickness.

Important: Avoid overcooking and turning more than once. (Flipping back and forth will break fish apart.) Always bring cooked fish from the grill inside on a clean plate, not the same one that carried the raw fish.

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