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10 Tips for Cooking Fresh Fish

If you don’t care for fish, it may be because you are not cooking it correctly.  Follow my 10 cooking tips for Cooking fresh Fish and you may find that fish will become a favorite of yours.

Most doctors say that you should eat more fish.   It is very high in protein and low in calories, especially the white fish varieties.

And oily fish, while having more calories, is high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the “good” fats.  Don't think you like fish? Maybe you are not cooking it correctly. See my 10 tips for cooking fresh fish.

Tricks and Tips for Cooking Fish.

Does your fish not taste the way you would like it to? These tips will make a believer out of you!

1. How to choose fish

Fresh fish should only smell slightly of the sea. If the piece you are buying “smells fishy” it is probably not fresh, so pass on it..  Fresh fish should be stored on ice in the display counter. Whole fish should have firm, shiny gills free of slime.

If you buy frozen fish, check to make sure there is no freezer burn.

check for fresh fish stored over ice2. How to store fish

Ideally, it is best to cook fish the day you buy it, or defrost it. If you allow it to sit in the fridge, it will slowly deteriorate.

However, as long as you buy it very fresh, fish can last up to 3 days in the fridge.  (I never go beyond one day just to be safe.)

3. Speed of cooking

Fish is not one of those proteins that improve with long cooking time.  Most fish recipes are prepared very quickly.  Sometimes just 3-4 minutes in a hot skillet is all you will need with thin fillets.

Overcooking makes it tough and dry.  A good rule of thumb is 7-10 minutes per inch of fish.  You can tell, while cooking.

When it is fully cooked, the fish will begin to flake and break apart, and will change in color from translucent to opaque.

fish is done when it turns opaque

4. How to cook Fish

 Looking for fish recipes? Here are some.

Poaching fish

To poach fish, place it on a bed of aromatic flavors such as fresh herbs and vegetable broth.  Cover and Simmer until done.


Poached Fish

Photo credit Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Wrapped fish

Fish wrapped in parchment paper or aluminum foil with seasoning ingredients is sodelicious and tender.  Bake it at 400º for 10-15 minutes. The steam will cook the fish.

Breaded fishy in the oven

This gives a lighter version of fish that is normally fried.

Coat the fish with Panko bread crumbs and spray with buttery cooking spray and bake at 400º for about 15 minutes.

oven bake with Panko bread crumbs

Sautéed fish

My favorite method of cooking fish is to sauté it in extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat until it just starts to flake with a fork and is opaque.

This gives a nice color to the fish and it always turns out tender and flaky.

sauteed fish

Broiling fish

Place 3/4 – 1 inch fish fillets 4 inches from the broiler and cook for about 8 minutes.  This is my favorite way to cook scallops.

On The Grill

Most fish can be cooked outside on a grill.  A fish grill basket is great for this.  For direct heat 5-6 minutes will usually do it.

Thicker fish, such as halibut or salmon steaks can be cooked right on the grill bars.

grilled fish

Deep frying

This is a very popular way to enjoy fish and often used for take out food.

Coat your fish and cook quickly in 350-375º in a deep fryer or several inches of oil.  Great for fish and chips style meals.

fried fish

Rare fish and sushi

Some top quality fish, such ahi tuna can be served very rare or even raw, as in sushi.   There are dangers with consuming raw fish, though, so take care that you use just the freshest fish available.

take care with rare fish

How to tell when fish is done

5. Checking done-ness.

There are several ways to check to see if the fish is done.

  • Use a cooking thermometer – annternal temperature of 135-140º is ideal.
  • Go by the appearance – the thickest part of the meat will become opaque.
  • Bone in fish – the fish should stick slightly to the bones, not fall off them completely
  • Check how it is flaking – use a fork or knife to see if it flakes.  Be careful with this one, though. If fish flakes too easily, it is over done.If fish flakes too easily it is over cooked


6. Don’t cover when done

Fish is best served immediately. If you cover it, the fish will continue to cook and become dry.

7.  Good flavorings

Citrus fruits, such as lemon and limes go great with fish. Seasonings are often just salt and pepper, but many spices and vegetable pair very with fish – dill, fennel, leeks are often used.

vegetables and citrus go well with fish

8. Cooking frozen fish

Fish is best cooked thawed, but if you cook frozen fish, add additional cooking time.

9. Oily Fish

Fish that it oily is best  grilled, broiled, steamed or poached so that their fats drip away during cooking.

10. Bones

No one likes a mouth full of bones when eating fish.  Be sure the the fish you buy is boned, unless you are cooking whole fish.

If any bones remain, use tweezers to remove them. This video shows how to remove pin bones.

Have I convinced you to experiment with Fish recipes?  Here are several that may tempt you.Don't think you like fish? Think again. Here are 13 delicious fish recipes.1. Baked trout recipe

2. Easy Baked Salmon.

3. Salted Codfish

4. Baked Salmon with Honey Dijon Sauce

5. Oven baked Cod and Shrimp with lemon mustard.

6. Red Lobster Nantucket Baked Cod and Tomatoes.

7. Ahi Tuna with Tarragon butter sauce.

8. Caribbean Grilled Snapper with Pineapple.

9. Yellow Fin Tuna with Pineapple salsa.

10. Parmesan crusted Tarragon Salmon.

11. Bacon Wrapped Halibut.

12. Tilapia with wine and capers.

13. Slimmed Down Fish and Chips.

14. Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon.

15. Marinated Ahi tuna.

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