For the longest time, I shied away from cooking fish at home. The smell always scared me off! However, between budgets that didn’t allow for eating out and a desire to eat healthier food at home, I decided it was time to learn how to cook fish. And not just fish, but all kinds of seafood.
I learned a few things along the way, mostly by trial and error (thanks to the family for not complaining), but I learned. Here are a few things I’d like to pass along so you can skip a few of those errors mentioned above.
1. Better Dishes Start with Better Seafood
There are a lot of places to buy seafood these days. If you are lucky enough to live on one of the coasts, or on the Great Lakes, fresh fish and more can easily be had from local fish markets. These are great ways to ensure you are getting only the freshest product available. Talk to the fish mongers and ask them when their seafood was actually caught. Remember, the mark of fresh fish is that it doesn’t smell at all like fish!
If you aren’t so fortunate as to live near a fresh source, find a good supplier like Citarella, which hires fishermen to catch fresh fish in the wild as opposed to buying farm raised seafood. They can cold pack and ship seafood fresh to your door.
The grocery store is an option, but you might actually want to look for frozen seafood that was packed fresh as opposed to the seafood counter where fish may have been sitting, chances are it started out frozen too.
There’s been a lot of talk about Farm vs. Wild-caught fish lately. While farm practices vary from region to region and country to country, the fact remains that there is a difference between the two. While this infographic from Prevention looks just at salmon, there are similar cases promoting wild-caught tilapia, shrimp and other seafood as well.
2. Pick the Right Recipe
While seafood is very versatile and a great way to try out new cooking techniques and flavors, for your first attempt, it’s best to choose your recipe carefully. Here are a few things to consider:
· Ingredients your family likes
· Cooking techniques you are familiar with
· Something you can cook in the time you have
Salmon is a great fish to start with because it is tasty without being strong and it lends itself to a variety of different preparations. This Salmon with Lemon-Thyme Sauce recipe, for example, is one you’ll want to make again and again. You can make it on the grill in about a half hour and it combines two of my favorite flavors.
Shrimp is another popular seafood item for cooking at home. It’s perfect for weeknight meals because it cooks very quickly. In fact, overcooking is the biggest issue you’ll face with shrimp. Start with something easy like this Garlic Shrimp over Rice recipe from my friend Penny. It’s packed with flavor (who doesn’t love garlic!!) and is ready in about 15 minutes.
3. Make Sure Your Prep Work is On Point
When you find that perfect piece of seafood, or it gets delivered to your door, you’re going to want to have all your ingredients at the ready. Make your shopping list up and get all the fresh ingredients you need to make your recipe the day before. This way, you’ll be ready to put dinner on the table and have everything you need on hand.
Once you’ve mastered some easier recipes, you’ll be ready to explore a whole new world of flavors and cooking methods. Get creative with arctic char or look for something trendy to do with tilapia. Even go Mexican with fish tacos. With seafood, the world is your oyster!
I am now in the App Store! If you have an apple device, go to your App Store, search “Lori’s Culinary Creations” and download the app for free.