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Friday, May 7, 2010

Tips for Cooking Fish & Seafood

Fish can be cooked using a variety of methods including baking, broiling, frying, grilling and steaming. A general rule for cooking fish is to measure it at its thickest point, then cook 8 to 10 minutes per inch (4 to 5 minutes per half inch). Using a fork to check for doneness, the fish should be opaque, its juices milky white. Undercooked fish is transluscent, its juices clear and watery; overcooked fish is dry and falls apart easily.

SwordfishTunaRed SnapperSalmon

Tips for Cooking Fish

Firm fish, such as tuna, salmon, or shark can be cooked directly on the grill if handled carefully.

Skewer small shellfish such as shrimp or scallops on metal or water-soaked wooden skewers or cook them in a grill basket.

Grill fillets over medium to medium-low heat. Fish can cook quickly and it is easier to slow down cook time and monitor so you do not overcook.

Turn fish only once. (Flipping back and forth will break fish apart.)

Buying Fish at the Supermarket

There are many varieties of fish that can be found in your local supermarkets, but do you know anything about that fish? How do you cook it? What is the texture? If you grill it will the fish fall apart? Here is a basic guideline for many of today's supermarket favorites.

Lean Sea Fish

Cod/Scrod - Smooth texture, tender white flesh

Haddock - From the North Atlantic, white, lean flesh, slightly dry

Halibut - From North Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, white, firm texture; good for poaching or steaming

Mahi Mahi - Strong meaty flavor

Ocean Perch - From Atlantic and Pacific coasts, pink flesh with mild flavor; great for chowders

Pollock - From Nrth Atlantic /Pacific coasts, Firm, white or grey flesh, mild flavor

Red Snapper - Firm, white flesh with red skin

Sea Bass - Firm flesh, may be baked, grilled or broiled

Turbot - Firm white steaks, white flesh and mild flavor; great for grilling

Whiting - From Mid-Atlantic coast, soft flesh, great for chowders

Oil-Rich Sea Fish

Salmon - Pale to pink or red flesh, very distinct flavor not easily substituted for, good poached, broiled, baked, grilled or pan-fried

Swordfish - From Atlantic & Pacfic coasts, firm flesh, strong flavor; good for grilling, baking, broiling

Tuna - Albacore has the most delicate flavor; also yellowfin and bluefin; firm pink to deep red flesh, steak-like texture; freezes well

Freshwater Fish

Catfish - Farmed in the Mississippi Valley; firm, sweet and white flesh

Perch - From Eastern U.S., firm, delicate texture; versatile in cooking

Trout - Farm-raised in Western U.S., firm, delicate, pink-orange flesh; may be grilled, baked or broiled

Whitefish - From Northern Lakes, Mild, smooth and firm texture; good grilled, baked or smoked


Clams - From Atlantic and Pacific coasts, smaller clams are more tender, the larger are tougher; rich in protein and minerals

Mussels - lean, sweet, tender texture; best steamed or added to chowders

Scallops - Sea Scallops are mild in flavor; Bay Scallops from Long Island and Massachusetts are mild on flavor; Calico from the Gulf Waters are small and cook quickly

Shrimp - Most shrimp is imported from Asia or South America and is almost always sold frozen or previously frozen. Shrimp degrade very quickly. Only about 2 percent of shrimp sold is truely "fresh" and is usually sold within 50 miles of where it is caught.

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