Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 31, 2013 06:50 PM

What is your preparation method for making a great Fish meal.

Just to say ahead of time, canned foods don't count, Anyways, do you fry it or bake it? Do you cover it with any sauce or spices? Do you prepare it as a filet, steak or whole? What's the method to your madness here folks? Also share your description(s) of anything else you might add to this meal & have fun with it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. First, of course, you must acquire a *great* fish...which is rare. When I do, I season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and EVOO, fill the cavity with lemon slices and one fresh herb, perhaps thyme. Then I roast *indirect* with hardwood charcoal in my Hasty-Bake. Degree of doneness depends on the fish---I admire Le Bernardin, but don't go quite that rare. Remember that you don't have to cook fish until it is tender, because it is already tender.

    1. 1. Get the best fish possible.
      2. Don't be an ass and screw it up.

      Preparation depends on the fish and what I'm in the mood for, but I'll always set aside the time to ensure that things don't muck up.

      15 Replies
      1. re: wattacetti

        HAW! You said it much more compactly than I did.

        1. re: wattacetti

          I always prefer fresh Fish. There are only 2 exceptions that I'm quite satisfied with purchasing & those 2 are previously fried/breaded Fish as well as Salmon with the skin on. I always prefer the skin on my Salmon as I'd expect most others do too. Maybe if you're out in the Woods & don't have a scaler with you or something, I guess that you could/should go without the skin. Outside of that, it always stays on!

          1. re: ShowUsYourRack

            "previously fried/breaded Fish "

            Is that like fish sticks?

            1. re: c oliver

              I admit to loving fish sticks. Or stix

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  we do too -- I'm absolutely OCD about making sure my fresh fish is fresh, even asking the guy behind the counter to pass it over so I can give it the sniff test..

                  But we buy fish sticks and bake them because we enjoy them for weekend lunches.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    The one frozen breaded fish I buy, and try to always have in stock, is beer battered cod fingers. I buy a certain brand that not's available everywhere, maybe there are others too; I will be the first to admit I couldn't make them better from scratch. Great on fish tacos.

                    Otherwise, whatever fish it is, I usually fry my husband's portion and bake mine after a quick marinade; unless it's tuna or scallops which I almost always sear.

                    1. re: coll

                      we all have our dirty little secrets! :)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        True! If not for these, I'd probably never make fish tacos at home.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Your favorite cod. 1 and 1/2 cup flour sifted into beer and Cajun seasonings, batter in flour w/ salt. Cut the fillets as desired.

                2. re: ShowUsYourRack

                  I don't understand your two exceptions to fresh fish.

                  The first is previously fried/breaded, which I guess are fishstix and the like.

                  The second is salmon with the skin on? I've worked on a lot of salmon and when they come out of the water, the skin's on. Not sure why this is an exception to "fresh fish".

                  Getting the best fish possible also includes dried, canned and frozen sources for whatever application I happen to be working on.

                  1. re: ShowUsYourRack

                    having spent many years working in restaurants most people actually don't like the skin. however, i certainly do.

                    there is no *ONE* way i do fish, however, i will not waste money on farmed fish. the only exception being mussels and oysters. i do live in new england so have access to excellent seafood.

                3. Depends wildly on the type of fish. For good, flavourful fish I'll go with simple and let the fish taste shine. Other fish can get more complicated preparations. Unless it's a large fish (salmon, tuna, etc), I'll almost always cook it whole, rather than fillets. I'm lucky to be in an area that has great, affordable seafood, although the fish I have access to tend to be very different than North American varieties.

                  Saury or ayu I'll salt grill whole, and serve with grated daikon and a wedge of lemon. Saury works well pickled, too.

                  Something like trout or butterfish I'll pan fry in butter, and serve with lemon, or herbed butter.

                  Tilapia I'll do whole, covered/filled with a mixture of diced green pepper and onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes, and baked.

                  Salmon - pan fried with a bit of butter or lemon. If someone happens to give me a smallish freshly caught salmon, barbecued whole with a lemon bread stuffing and profound gratitude, and served with foil roasted new potatoes and a garden salad.

                  Milk fish - whole and stuffed, or in soups or stews, or fillets baked with a soy glaze. The firmness of the flesh stands well to stewing. I'll use this in a Thai/southern Indian style curry as well.

                  Fillets or steaks of firm white fish or tuna - baked in foil with some vegetables and herbs.

                  Small fish like smelts - dredged in flour and pan fried in butter.

                  White fish like cod I'll sometimes use for a milk based fish chowder. Onion, celery, carrot potato, fish stock, thyme parsely and bay leaf, salt and pepper, milk, and topped with grated cheddar.

                  Sometimes I'll do seafood stews/soups - shrimp, shellfish, squid, fish, with a tomato and white wine based broth.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                    Oh, and sometimes I'll do steamed whole fish Chinese style, with ginger and green onion.

                    Sushi grade fish gets eaten as sashimi or ceviche, naturally.

                  2. My favorite preparation for pan fish is to dredge in flour, then egg, then fresh bread crumbs. Let dry on a rack for a half hour. Fry in equal parts vegetable oil and butter.
                    Serve with tartar sauce, skinny French fries, vinegar dressed cole slaw and rye bread.
                    It's not a wild and crazy recipe, but if you can ever get your hands on some Lake Michigan yellow perch,there's no reason to serve it any other way.

                    1. I recently had a great piece of halibut. I made portions and cooked en papilotte ontop of fresh wild mushrooms that were smeared with a bit of miso paste and a sprig of thyme and drizzle of white wine ontop. Cooked until just barely opaque.
                      The wonderful mushroomy sauce from the packets became the broth at the bottom of a shallow bowl- served with fresh crusty sourdough to sop up the broth

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        Halibut sounds pretty good. I'd sure like some of that right now.