How to Properly Cook Your Fish

Fish is one of the healthiest meats you can eat. It’s high in protein and low in saturated fats. It also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart, eye and brain health. These instructions will teach you how to cook your fish properly.

1) Buy Fresh Fish

Fish is a very perishable meat, and you should always buy and eat your fish as fresh as possible. When shopping for fish, the first step is to smell it. Fresh fish should have a pleasant, sweet aroma. Fish that have strong, fishy aromas are no longer fresh.

You can also judge a fish’s freshness by the way it looks. Whole fresh fish should have bright eyes and firm flesh. Fillets and steaks should be firm and bright. There should be no discoloration on the meat.

Keep your fish refrigerated for no longer than 48 hours. If you’re planning to store the fish longer than that, you have to freeze it. If you don’t have access to freshly caught fish and are instead buying frozen fish, thaw it in the refrigerator or under cold running water to prepare it for cooking. Cook and eat the fish immediately after thawing.

2) Remove the Pin Bones

Many species of fish, such as salmon and trout, have a double ribcage and will therefore be full of pin bones. While you can buy these fish already deboned, you’ll save a little money if you remove the bones yourself. Squeeze the raw flesh between your fingers and remove the pin bones with a pair of tweezers.

3) Don’t Overcook Your Fish

Fish cooks quickly and it’s very easy to overcook. It doesn’t have a lot of fat and connective tissue like other animals do, so when you cook it, it will become delicate. You’ll know your fish is cooking when it begins to turn opaque. Check that your fish is done by performing the flake test: insert a fork into the thickest part of the fish and twist. If the flesh flakes along its natural lines, then it’s done.

To avoid overcooking your fish, cook it until it’s almost done, then remove the pan from the heat source. Let it stand for a few minutes. The pan will remain hot and continue to cook the fish for several minutes after it’s removed from the heat.

4) Marinating Fish

Marinating fish can improve the flavor, but fish is very vulnerable to the acidic compounds found in many marinades. Don’t marinade your fish for longer than 30 minutes.

5) Popular Methods of Cooking Fish

There are several ways to cook fish. Grilling, steaming and frying are some of the most popular. When grilling fish, place it on the grill and leave it alone for 2 to 4 minutes. Turn it and cook for 2 to 4 minutes more. When steaming fish, add your seasonings to the water. Don’t boil the water, just let it simmer. Boiling will overcook the fish. Fried fish are usually battered and dipped in hot oil for four minutes per side, turned once.


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