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Fish Question

Hi everyone, I am new around here, primarily a lurker, but I have a fish question that I hope some of you can help me with. I am newly introducing fish into my diet. I never really cared for it before, but am learning to enjoy it. So far, I have tried and liked Tile and Seabass. What I am wondering is what other fishes should I try. I do not like fish that are "fishy". I do not care for salmon, I do know that.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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  1. Red snapper, cod, halibut may be your best bet.

    You need to have smoked cooked salmon off my Weber -
    it's to die for, but that's me.

    Tonight we're having the last of the ling cod I caught last
    summer - she's using a recipe from Cooking Light that's not
    bad. I prefer to roll in corn meal and fry in canola oil.

    Try the halibut first.

    1. Welcome, AshLes.

      Monkfish is a beaut. for new fish eaters as it's not too fishy and is break-up resistant when cooking. However, there are sustainability issues and it's expensive (certainly here in the UK). Mussels too have similar merits.

      1. Mild fish: tilapia, sole, sand dabs, halibut

        Have you tried cool or room temp salmon with mild, raw onion rings and mayo. Very good and something you may not have had.

        1. You should eat fresh fish. That fishy flavour that most people don't like is a result of the fish being old. If you associate salmon with being fishy, I expect you've never had good salmon. It is weird that the word fishy is associated with old fish. Meaty isn't associated with old meat. Cheesy with old cheese. Anyway, I digress. My favourite fishes? Tuna. Hake. Halibut. But really any fresh fish is awesome. (And this is speaking as someone who thought he didn't like fish for the first 22 years of life).

          3 Replies
          1. re: Indirect Heat

            100% agreed with you. If fish is "fishy" then it's not good, or overcooked.

            AshLes - Nobody likes "fishy" fish. Most of the ppl I know who say they don't like fish because it's "fishy" have never had properly cooked fresh fish. There are, of course, some ppl who just don't like fish, but in my experiences, I've seen countless numbers of ppl say things like "wow, that isn't fishy at all" when they eat good fish. It isn't SUPPOSED to be "fishy." If it is, that usually means it's not very fresh, or overcooked.

            I'd suggest:
            Tuna and swordfish - though these have to be cooked perfectly.
            Lake Trout
            Catfish - although it can taste a little lakier at times. When it's REALLY lakey, it can taste muddy.
            Mahi Mahi

            The real key is to get it fresh. Run away from all frozen fish sold frozen, imo, unless you can get it from a reputable source. Once it's frozen, unless it's packaged properly, it's just not worth it after it's been frozen for a few weeks. The breakdown of quality is inevitable compared to getting it fresh.

            I also agree that if yiou do not like salmon because you've had some "fishy" salmon, that you might wanna try it again. It's usually very mild and meaty. Tastebuds are all different though. I grew up on the East coast, and fish was a staple dinner. All kinds. I love it all except for scallops. Most ppl would say they are extrememly mild. For some reason, I find them very strongly flavored, and can't eat too many of them at all. Good luck, and try to eat fish from the happy list (sustainability) so your kids and grandkids can enjoy fish as well.

            1. re: gordeaux

              I'd second the Walleye, Whitefish, lake Trout, etc. Similar to the OP, I'm a "ate-fish-as-a-child-then-stopped-now-starting-again" fish eater and these types are some of my favorites. I find these lake fish to be really non-fishy , but perhaps that's also because I tend to eat them when freshly caught.

              Oh, and I'd add Blue Gill to that list :)

              1. re: anakalia

                I second (or is it forth?) the statement that anything is good fresh, and nothing is good not fresh. I walk into the store and sniff, and buy whatever smells the best.

          2. Start with white/light color flesh fishes like the ones you have already mentioned/tried.


            5 Replies
            1. re: fourunder

              Just to clarify, scrod and cod are technically the same thing. Scrod will sometimes refer to smaller, younger cod, but it is often just a label restaurants put on for the sake of it, and maybe to catch a few extra bucks.

              1. re: schoenfelderp

                Scrod is a generic term for fresh white fish. It's usually cod, but can be haddock or something else. I've never fish labeled as "scrod" in a fish market (then again, I haven't lived in New England in over 20 years). It's a restaurant term that lets the place serve whatever white fish is available without having to change the menu.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  And here I was thinking scrod was the third-person pluperfect indicative.

                  I've never seen a fish market label anything as scrod either. But I have seen them advertise specials on scrod, designed to get rid of all the smaller white fish fillets that no one has bought, or the odd pieces left when someone has wanted only the thick section of a large fillet. That's more of an old fashioned thing though. These days it seems like the fish markets are more likely to prepare and sell fish and chips or seafood chowder to use up these bits. You'll also occasionally see scrod called for in old cookbooks from the Northeast, in recipes where any white fish will do, but the pieces need to be on the smaller and thinner side of things.

                    1. re: hill food

                      2nd that emotion a s a word nerd!

                      schrod is falling out of fashion on menus as well. it used to just be whatever, but with the depletion of the cod stock, it's more likely now to be pollock.

            2. I think it depends on the region you live in. Try to talk to your fish monger about what is fresh and local. Fresh is better than previously frozen because sometimes it changes the texture of the fish (which may unnecessarily turn you off to a fish). Ask if they are breaking down the fish there. If they are and just did it, get some of that. I try to smell the fish before hand (they will hold it for you). Buy a small piece (or share with someone), so you can decide whether you like it or not without spending a fortune. Cook it simply (like grilling, broiling and pan frying - whole fish) so you know how the FISH actually tastes.

              Also, try a fish you are iffy on a couple times - especially if you ate in a restaurant (maybe the preparation was the problem or their fish was edgy). I went years thinking I hated salmon. It turns out I just did not like a restaurant's salmon. All those years lost... LOL

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                I agree absolutely. There are a number of fish that I always thought I hated, until I ate them nearer to their home. Of course, there do seem to be a few fish that don't suffer or even improve from travel or freezing, but those are the exception.

              2. To say broadly, "I do not care for salmon, I do know that" causes me to wonder about your experience with salmon. Salmon is available in several varieties and, while you may not care for one variety, you may find that you like another. Salmon that is prepared with skin on (e.g. steaks) is quite different from salmon prepared with skin off (e.g. filets). Salmon can be pickled, smoked, baked, steamed, fried, poached (in water or oil) and some even like it raw. Any of those methods can be used incorrectly to make what might have been a good plate of salmon a disaster. So don't be too sure you don't like salmon ...
                "Fishy" taste, often attributed to fish that is no longer fresh, can also make reference to fish that, fresh or not, is stronger in flavor. The strong flavors, most commonly associated with the amount of fat in the variety of fish selected, are found in herring, mackerel, some varieties of salmon, and shad. If you filet a fresh trout you'll find it to be wonderfully mild flavored. The same trout prepared with its skin on will have a stronger flavor.
                Brush a light coat of olive oil on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap a nice Tilapia fillet. Lay the fillet on the foil, season lightly with salt and pepper and top it with chopped shallots, a small chopped clove of garlic, and a drizzle of lemon juice and a few small bits of butter. Bring the edges of the foil together and fold the foil down in several narrow folds so that it will unfold easily after the fish is cooked, then fold up the ends of the foil nice and tight. Put on a baking sheet and pop into a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap (careful not to burn yourself with the steam) and check for doneness (fish should flake easily when agitated with a fork). If it's not done to your liking, fold it back up and return it to the oven for a few more minutes.
                When it's done, lift it from the foil with a wide spatula and plate with a garnish of a slice of lemon and a spring or two of parsley.

                2 Replies
                1. re: todao

                  I do know that the only way I will eat Salmon is smoked or gravlax ...I do not care for it any other way...and yes i have tried it many way and in many different areas. To this day when we are out and someone orders it I will sneek a taste just to make sure my taste buds haven't changed.

                  Who would really call Tilapia a fish, it it tastesless and they are raised in mud ponds!

                  Then again I am spolied when it comes to fresh fish, come from a long line of fishermen...

                2. Thanks to everyone who replied. As I said before, this is something that I am newly introducing because I have really never preferred the flavor or texture of fish. I have had many different kinds, actually most of the fish you all have mentioned, I have tried. But now that I am actually enjoying fish, I would like to re-try them to see if my opinions have changed. I guess I should thought my question through a little more. I am looking to start with milder flavor fish.

                  Oh, and I completely forgot to mention earlier....I DO like smoked salmon, but have not cared for it in other preparations.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: AshLes

                    As odd as this might sound to you:
                    If you start really liking fish, you might wanna go and try som sushi.
                    Along with raw fish, there are plenty of cooked preparations. What's really intriguing about sushi is that raw fish is generally more mild than its cooked counterpart, imo. Also, take into consideration what Sal Vanilla said about your region. I no longer live near a coast, and for that reason, I will rarely if ever buy mackerel. Mackerel is one of my favorites, but if it ain't fresh - like one day out of the ocean at the most, forget it. So, given that, I wouldn't really ever go hunting for a fish with a mindset that you are only buying x species of fish. Let the market and the fish guide you to what you are buying that day. If I want poached salmon, but the salmon looks/smells off, and the snapper looks great, there's no way I'd buy the salmon. What's freshest is better than species almost always.

                    Todao also brings up a very good point about "skin on" preps.
                    One thing I tell ppl is the only way to ruin a good piece of fish is to overcook it. No matter how it's prepared, everyone knows when they get a piece of fresh fish. It's the one where everyone says, wow this is good! It's usually not because of some seasoning. It's because the flesh is delectable.

                    1. re: gordeaux

                      Thanks so much! You know what's funny? I LOVE SUSHI! I have loved sushi for quite some time now. :o)

                      1. re: gordeaux

                        overcooked fish is miserable.

                        and I was considering saying don't try mackerel yet as it sounds like the oily fish are the ones not cared for. but maybe the last time I had it was the wrong piece that day.

                        somebody upstream mentioned monkfish and some have referred to it as the poor man's lobster (a bit of an exaggeration, but the texture is kinda close, skate too for that matter)

                      2. re: AshLes

                        My husband is the same way, he used to only eat halibut, now he can eat mild, lean fish like cod, haddock, tilapia and fresh sole. I should make him try seabass next time.

                        1. re: ToxicJungle

                          My son likes to cook with fresh strip bass he gets at the dock.
                          The specials sell out in no time. Hopefully I will catch one
                          this summer and have him fix it for us.

                          BTW, I scale the trout I catch. I was told there are 100 scales per inch
                          on a trout and under each scale there are microscopic dirt particles
                          accounting for a muddy taste when prepared. I scale with the blade of
                          my pocket knife and rinse carefully. I usually roll the fish in cornmeal and
                          fry in canola oil, using a cast iron skillet. My tartar sauce is of my own

                          1. re: Johnny West

                            Sound yummy, I would love to have live fish all the time (this is one thing that I missed the most back home) but unfortunately I don't live close to the coast, or I don't go fishing in the lake. We do have some Asian Market in the city that sell live seafood but they are farmed.

                        2. re: AshLes

                          I also like smoked salmon but don't particularly care for regular cooked salmon. And I lived in the PNW for almost 20 years, SF before that so I was getting "good" stuff. It's not that I WON'T eat it. If served at a dinner party, I eat it (hoping for a small) piece but would never cook it at home.

                          Do you have a TJs nearby? They have cod filets and also "nuggets" flash frozen. Mild tasting, not expensive and easy.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Same here. I love smoked salmon but I do not like cooked salmon at all. It used to be my back up when I was faced with a menu that offered no other choices that I liked (which is rare), but then one day I realized that I just don't like it. Smoked Salmon is a whole different thing.

                            Monkfish was suggested somewhere here. I have to disagree with that. As a light to moderate fish eater (eating most of the white flaky ones mentioned in this thread), I find monkfish unappealing in both texture and taste.

                            1. re: valerie

                              Re salmon, my husband feels the same. We sometimes wonder if we're the ONLY West Coast people who don't worship at that altar :)

                        3. The only thing common to good fish is freshness. There are so many types and sizes and preparations for salt and fresh water fish, it would be helpful if you provided a clue about where you live so hounds can steer you to your region's specailties.

                          1. Some of my friends say that "Fish" is my middle name. I love to cook it, eat it, serve ti to my friends.

                            I'd recommend you get Rick Moonen's book "Fish Without a Doubt," and read it. You will be quite inspired to try many of his easy to fix, great tasting recipes that were developed in a home kitchen -- NOT for restaurant chefs.

                            By the time you get through ten or so recipes, I'll be surprised if you're not (pardon the pun) hooked on fish!

                            Just for starters, here are a few ideas from my lifetime of cooking, teaching, eating fish:

                            Everyday” Fish
                            serves as many as you’d like!

                            I like fish very much, and since I know how good it is for my body, I cook it often ­ even just for myself. Friends and students alike frequently ask me how I prepare fish. Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain, because most of the time I don’t really use a recipe in the formal sense. Here are some of the ways I fix “everyday” fish.

                            I’m most likely to pick up a fish fillet or two at a nearby market, so I’ll choose from whatever’s handy. It could be salmon, cod, catfish, sea trout, grey sole or some kind of snapper. For each person, you’ll want about 6 ounces of fish.

                            The ways I most often prepare “everyday” fish are broiled, sautéed or “pan-poached. “ For broiling, I keep small disposable aluminum broiler pans on hand. The everyday condiments I try to keep in my pantry include: lemons and limes, extra-virgin olive oil, Noilly-Prat dry Vermouth, capers, Consorzio mango-flavored vinegar, an assortment of Dijon mustards, dried herbes des Provence, and of course, sea salt and whole white peppercorns to grind fresh.

                            The rule of thumb for cooking fish is that it takes 8 minutes for every inch of thickness. Don’t forget that, just like meat or poultry, fish continues to cook after you remove it from the heat source. If you leave it in too long, the fish will become dry and disagreeable. Your fish will be cooked through if you follow this formula. Don’t worry, this is not about raw fish!

                            Now, I’ll take the same 6-ounce piece of cod and give you examples of my three “ordinary” cooking methods.

                            Broiled: Preheat the broiler. Spray a disposable broiler pan with oil. (I usually use extra-virgin olive oil.) Place the fillet skin side down on the pan. Use sea salt and white pepper to taste, and sprinkle a little lemon juice. Drizzle just a teaspoon of very fruity extra-virgin olive oil over the fish, if you like. Broil about 2 inches away from the flame for 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon how thick the fish is. If you like, you could add some seasoned crumbs to the top of the fish for the last 3 minutes of broiling.

                            Sautéed: Warm a small sauté pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté a handful of sliced onion in the oil until translucent. Push them to one side and place the salted and peppered fish fillet, skin side UP in the center of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and sprinkle with some fresh herbs if you have them. Add salt and pepper to taste, and slide the onions down around the fish. Turn the heat down to medium and cook 5 to 6 minutes longer. Add a few capers to the pan for the last couple of minutes. Sprinkle with fresh lemon or lime juice just before serving with wedges of the appropriate citrus fruit.

                            Pan-poached: Warm a small sauté pan (with a cover). Spray lightly with oil. Spread the top of the fish fillet with about 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard. (If you can find the wonderful tarragon mustard of Edmond Fallot, do try it!) Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste, and place the fillet ­ mustard side DOWN ­ in the hot oil. Cook for about 3 minutes this way, then use a spatula to turn the skin side down. Add ¼ cup of vermouth to the pan and scrape up the mustard and brown bits on the pan bottom. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then cover the pan and let the fish “poach” (or steam) in the liquid for 5 or 6 minutes more. Pour those yummy juices over the fish fillet on the service plate!

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: ChefJune

                              +1 on the Fish Without a Doubt recommendation, extremely good book giving you boundless options in terms of type of fish, preparation technique, and flavor profiles.

                              Also, if you live anywhere near New England, you NEED to try good fish and chips! In my opinion there's nothing better, although I am admittedly sentimentally biased on this subject.

                              1. re: schoenfelderp

                                A Chow-friend of mine discouraged me from buying this book. Neither she nor I have a particularly good selection of fish available where we live. She found it frustrating and not a good buy for her. I heeded her advice.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  i asked the library to buy it and they did. I think it is a great book.from what i have read i do not know a better fish cook book at this time. Just my 1 1/2-cents.

                                  1. re: jfood

                                    But you probably have a fishmonger, don't you, laddie? At my local groceries, I can get salmon and maybe one or two "white" fish filets. Poor me.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      "a fishmonger"? true, living in coastal CT we do have quite a choice. One place actually has a "pick your own" fish bar with wnole bronzini, snapper and other single serving fishes. grab a plastic bag, use the tongs and take whichever fish you want and bring to the register.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        Go ahead and rub my nose in your oh-so-sweet-smelling fish :) We spent a week doing a house exchange on Cape Cod and ate fresh local seafood at least once and sometimes twice a day. It was wonderful. Looking forward to getting back to DC and NYC in the coming months and indulging ourselves even more.

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    Oliver, judging a seafood cookbook based on your limited availability of fish is unfair. Your lack of access to quality fish is not a reflection upon this cookbook, the author, or its recipes.

                                    1. re: schoenfelderp

                                      Never said it was. I actually was seriously considering buying it until a Chow-friend suggested that I might find it not so useful and actually frustrating to not be able to make most of the recipes. What I said wasn't judgmental but practical.

                              2. For me, the most important thing is to buy the freshest, best-tasting fish I can find. Here in Pittsburgh, that means going to the Penn Ave. Fish Market or Wholey's or Benkovitz in the Strip District. Whole Foods is a good place to buy fresh fish, too.

                                Often, I'll buy a side of fish to roast. I start by roasting onions and potatoes in a pan that's big enough to fit the side of fish and all the veg. I coat the pan with olive oil, throw in the cut-up veg, toss with s&p, and if you like, some rosemary or thyme. I cook it for ~1/2 hr, then move the veg to the sides of the pan. I put the fish in the center, and roast it until the fish is cooked, usually no more than 10 minutes, using the "10 minutes per inch" rule. You can do this with just a single serving, too. I just happen to love leftover fish for breakfast.

                                I have a series of different sized roasting and au gratin pans. I choose the pan according to how much I'm going to cook.

                                It'll take you a couple of tries to coordinate this with your oven, but I know of no simpler way to put a whole meal together with a piece of fish at its heart.

                                You can use snapper, halibut, sole (doesn't cook long), bluefish, others. My favorite is salmon. Serve with lemon wedges, or make an herbal vinaigrette. I like basil with just about any fish, and dill with salmon.

                                Ask your fish monger what's his best fish today, his best deal today, how he or she would cook it. I'm always talking fish with the fish guy.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Jay15206

                                  Living on a barrier island on the S.W. coast of florida We eat primarily, almost exclusively,saltwater fish and crustaceans; so here are my thoughts.

                                  Grouper is very mild; especially "Yellow Edge, Black, and Gag" Yellow edge being a very deep water fish approximatly 500 feet.Snapper, true American Red Snapper and Hog Snapper are very, very good top of the Snapper list.
                                  Pompano, a firm rich fish called "Nuggets of Gold" by those of us who fish for them..
                                  Spanish Mackeral, great on the grill whole, oregano or thyme, olive oil s&p...simple. Cook freshly caught only, does not freeze well.
                                  Specks, (Sea Trout) and Triple Tail, very mild delicate fish use seasonings sparingly as it is easy to mask the taste of this fine fish.
                                  STAY AWAY FROM.......King Mackeral and Swordfish, very high concentrations of Mercury in these slow growing fish
                                  Tilapia, even though it is cheap; totally avoid this farm raised fish, mostly from China and other parts of Asia, raised and fed under questionable conditions.
                                  Florida Lobster, Shovel Nose Lobster, local Octopus (seasonal), American Gulf squid, Wild Shrimp, (Gulf), and of course Stone Crab Claws.
                                  Again, just my thoughts on what I catch and eat.

                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                    Pompano is truly an under rated fish. It is just delicious. I also stay away from tilapia.
                                    Same is true for a lot of shrimp. Asian mud bugs.

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      "Tilapia, even though it is cheap; totally avoid this farm raised fish, mostly from China and other parts of Asia, raised and fed under questionable conditions."

                                      From what i understand, this is not always true. If you have a good supplier that you trust, they can tell you where it is from. There are some farms in the US that are ok to buy from.

                                      Ospreycove, you bring up a very good point in that consumers should practice responsible seafood consumption for many reasons not limited to irresponsible farming and harvesting practices to avoiding fish high in mercury, etc.
                                      Seafood Watch website has lots of good info on this.

                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                        There is nothing wrong with Swordfish in moderation. I would much rather eat swordfish in moderation than some fish that riased in mud ponds (Tilapia)

                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                          But, what about crabs?
                                          I'm not even going to go there ;-)
                                          Well, I guess i sort of did. Oh well.

                                          1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                            Bermuda gourmet, If you believe the scientists at the U.S. FDA the list of DON'T EAT, includes Sword, I agree with you on Farm raised Tilapia.

                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                              I have a friend that was a sales person for one of the only 2 FDA approved Seafood distrubitors in Florida and I have witnessed a delivery of rotten fish come in and the FDA approved it for delivery to their vendors/restaurants !! There was no way I would feed my cat that fish that came in...

                                              I still stand by what I say ...Eat swordfish in moderation and i have it sushi....very nice!

                                              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                bermud....Well, it is still your choice; anecdotal evidence aside.

                                      2. There are a lot of different ways to classify fish, and I think that one that might be most relevant to you if oiliness. Many people describe the flavor of cooked fish oil as fishy. While they might find salmon to be fishy when cooked, they might find it to be nice and clean tasting when raw or cold smoked. There are, broadly speaking, three levels of oiliness for fish: Non-oily fish or whitefish, semi-oily fish, and oily fish. You might find, as many people do, that all oily fish taste fishy to you. Whitefish, which can be either round fish or flatfish, are often the answer to this issue, but many people who don't like fish are turned off by the flaky texture and what they describe as blandness in whitefish. I find the middle category, semi-oily, to be the fish that most people who think they hate fish end up loving.

                                        You have already named one of the, sea bass, as a fish you like, and I believe tilefish may also fall into this category. Other examples include any other kind of bass, turbot, snapper, grouper, some types of tuna (generally the lighter colored flesh) or jack fish (often labeled as tuna), scup or porgie, and bream. I'd start with those, or just ask your fish man what semi-oily fish he's got.

                                        1. Don't drive yourself crazy. Take it one step at a time.

                                          If you liked Tilefish & Seabass, than sticking with white-fleshed fish for the moment will be your best bet until you're more comfortable with cooking & eating fish in general. Just look for white-fleshed fish, & steer clear of the darker-fleshed varieties. Even though good fresh fish will never smell or taste "fishy", the white-fleshed varieties will still be your best bet for now.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Breezychow

                                            I agree with most everything Ospreycove said. Except I think it's okay for adult males or adult women who are no longer able to become pregnant to eat kings, swordfish, and other high mercury fish no more than once a week. Definitely don't let children or young women eat it often.

                                            You may also want to know that golden tilefish is extremely high in mercury, although it is definitely one of my favorites. Red snapper and grouper have a lot of mercury too. Look for smaller, shorter lived snappers like the mangrove/grey or yellowtail snapper for lower mercury while having that great snapper taste.

                                            Pompano is the best of the best IMHO, and is low in mercury as well since they are short lived and eat lower on the food chain.

                                            Mahi mahi/Dolphin/Dorado feed higher on the food chain but live such short lives that they are low in mercury, particularly the smaller ones (called "peanuts") which are usually about a year old.

                                            For a cheap, available, yet tasty fish you might also try whiting (aka southern kingfish, not to be confused with king mackerel, aka kingfish.) They are a bit soft though, like flounder. I find they are okay fried and make good roulades and casserole type fish dishes.

                                            Always trim the filets of red meat, regardless of how they come from the fish monger. If you don't like the fishy taste (and who does, really?) then it is essential to get rid of this. It's impossible to get rid of all of it if you don't skin the filet, since most fish have a thin layer of red meat just under the skin. I'm not saying you should always skin the filet though, as it is sometimes desirable to leave it on.

                                            The most important thing though is to buy fresh fish. That doesn't necessarily rule out frozen. I would rather have fish flash frozen at sea than one that has sat on ice for a week. Look at the eye -- if it is cloudy, move on. Look at the gills -- if it is grey or blackish, move on. They should be some shade of red or dark red. And smell. If it smells like fish, then move on. If your fish monger won't let you smell it, then leave! Of course, if it's frozen filets, then you can't really do these tests. Hopefully you will know the source -- and if the deal seems too good to be true, then you can imagine why it's frozen. (It was about to go totally bad so the market froze it and sells it cheaper.)

                                            Bring your cooler to the seafood market so you can take it home without it getting warm. A good market will give you a little ice for free. Even 10 minutes above 40 degrees F will start those bacteria multiplying and get it funky fast. This is particularly true for fish that isn't very fresh to begin with.

                                            As for tilapia, I avoid farm raised stuff. However, I had the opportunity to catch some wild tilapia here the other day and it was EXCELLENT. So much better than the farm raised stuff. I think it is easily the best tasting freshwater fish. If you have the opportunity to get wild caught tilapia from the USA then jump on it!

                                          2. not mentioned yet are the under-rated smelts and sardines -- the fresh kind. mild, white, sweet flesh. perfect to roll in cornmeal and fry up a batch. and cheap!

                                            much of what matters is the op's location. i live in boston so get some of the best scallops in the world, day-boat. if i lived someplace where i only had access to frozen, i'd never eat them.