During Lent, eliminating red meat and overly processed foods from your diet is a popular choice. Sometimes 40 days of abstaining from rich foods and cooking more fish or chicken is a great way to reset your system and get on the right track with healthy eating.
However, the problem that many of us have is a trepidation to cooking fish at home. For me, it’s mainly about the smell, but also when you don’t cook something often, you worry about the recipe not working and wasting money on a fish dish that fell flat.
If you’re feeling brave and want to learn some easy techniques for successful fish recipes at home, here are some tips that will help conquer those fears.
Seasoning: Keep it simple. Fresh fish, even frozen filets, don’t need a lot of seasoning. Salt, pepper, other favorite seasoning blend, lemon or lime juice is really all you need.
Oven-Baked: Many filets like cod, salmon, mahi, tilapia and flounder cook very well in the oven. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and you won’t need to worry about the fish sticking to the pan. Drizzle with melted butter and/or olive oil. Add some citrus juice and cook for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Most average size filets will be ready in that time period. Thicker filets may take longer. Add a crust to the top by turning on the broiler for the last few minutes of cooking.
Grill or Pan-Sear: Firm filets like salmon, mahi and tuna will hold up to the grill or pan searing. Make sure the surface is very clean and hot before adding the fish. Also, brush the fish and the cooking surface with oil. This will increase your chances of nonstick cooking. If you try to turn the fish and it feels stuck, give it a minute and try again. It may not be cooked enough to release from the surface and turn. Also, adding some lemon juice, wine or other liquid to the pan, can help with turning.
Oven-Fried: Get that crispy crust without the deep fry. Simply dredge filets in flour, egg whites and breadcrumbs and place on a rack on a baking sheet. An oven proof cooling rack works just fine. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Wrapped in Paper: This technique is easy and foolproof. Simply place a filet on a 12 x 12 piece of parchment paper. Place 2 or 3 slices of lemon in the middle of the paper. Place the filet on top of the lemon slices and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of white wine and a sprinkle of fresh herbs or parsley. Fold the paper up around the fish to seal. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. This is an impressive presentation for a dinner party to unwrap at the table.
Poached: Poaching allows the fish to take on the flavor of a rich sauce or a way to add fish to soup. Salmon poached in wine, butter and lemon is delicious served over rice or on a salad. Also, cod poached in a coconut milk-chili broth is popular in Thai cuisine.
Click below for some easy fish recipes on the FRESH by Brookshire’s website.