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Aug 27, 2009 05:34 PM

Fish 101

I've got to add fish to my cooking repertoire yet don't really know where to begin. My husband won't eat "fishy tasting" fish, so that limits us to flounder, tilapia, snapper ?? I've heard that one must be wary of tilapia from China, yet that's all I seem to see in the stores. Can anyone recommend a good source for easy to prepare fish and a source for tasty, easy recipes?

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  1. Freshness is key to avoiding fishiness in many varieties in my experience. I would also consider farm raised catfish (has a distinct flavor but I wouldn't call it fishy), tuna (sear and serve rare), trout and grouper.

    I love escolar but have only ever eaten it raw and salmon is lovely raw - since I started eating it as sushi or sashimi I don't eat it cooked at all. I don't have the knife skills of a sushi master, so if I bring home sushi grade fish, I usually slice it over a salad.

    I don't really cook from recipes but the most important thing that I have learned about cooking fish is don't overcook it! If you cook it until it is done in the pan it will be overcooked by the time it is plated on the table. Err on the side of under cooking.

    Use tangy and acidic elements to enhance the mild fish flavors and detract from any residual fishy flavor. Citrus is used frequently, but capers or pickled artichoke hearts are great in fish dishes.

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    1. Buy cod or halibut (basically tasteless, white fish) and make fish and chips. Whip up a good aioli dipping sauce and your hubby will never know he's eating halibut -- i.e., chicken of the sea.

      1 Reply
      1. If you want to learn more about which fish to be wary of, check out the link below. The Monterey Bay Aquarium puts out a Seafood Watch guide to help us know which fish to avoid, which are good, and which are good alternatives (also available as an iPhone app if you are so equipped). They set it up as a green, yellow, red system. They also have a lot of great suggestions on recipes.

        1. I have the same issues in my family - we eat a lot of cod. It's true that if fish is fresh, it shouldn't stink. If you don't live in a place where you can get fresh fish, you could try flash-frozen. The texture will be a little different, but it should be a lot "fresher" and less offensive.

          This recipe is light and easy and flavorful - a staple in our house:

          You could also dump a bunch of your favorite salsa on top of a fish fillet and bake 'til it flakes easily. Very easy and very tasty.

          This Cod Dijon recipe, from the back of Whole Foods flash frozen cod, is very good, and very quick:

          I know one other poster called cod "tasteless," but another spin on it is it's "versatile."

          Good luck!


          1. A book about cooking fish that I highly recommend is our recent, March 2009, COTM "Fish Without a Doubt" by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. Here's the main link which has all the links to our reports of the various recipes we made. The book is very instructive regarding the purchase, care, and prep of seafood, plus the recipes are delicious!!

            Another helpful book which gives the reasons behind the current thinking regarding which seafood to buy and those not to buy is "Bottomfeeders: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood" by Taras Grescoe.

            Also, please do look at that Monterey Bay Aquarium site. You'll find helpful information there too.