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Fool-Proof Fish Preparation

Oct 11, 2020

Hint: the first step is getting a good non-stick pan.

Fish can be intimidating, but it doesn't need to be. If you can master a fish prep (which you can), you'll have a healthy and delicious dinner on the table in under 20 minutes. Plus, you can accomplish most fish dishes with minimal tools, including your non-stick pan or a baking sheet and a fish spatula depending on the recipe.


When selecting your preparation, consider the fish's natural flavor.

Think about how you can complement the fish's natural flavor. Most fresh fish requires little more than salt and pepper, but if you're looking to take it up a notch, a good rule of thumb is to stick with light, herby, citrusy, or white-wine-infused marinades for white fish and save bolder flavors for bolder fish, like salmon or tuna.

Here are a few fool-proof marinades ideas to get you started:

  • For salmon: Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper
  • For tuna: Ginger, soy sauce, and scallions
  • For white fish: Lemon, parsley, butter, salt and pepper
  • For white fish: Cumin, lime, cilantro, honey, EVOO, salt and pepper

Don't be afraid of frozen fish.

Frozen fish can get a bad rap, but often is fresher than the "fresh" alternatives at the store. If the fish was caught more than 2-3 days ago, you may prefer to thaw out a frozen option instead. Frozen fish is flash-frozen while still at sea, usually minutes after it's caught.

Whether you're buying fresh or frozen, use your nose and eyes to pick out the best catch. Fresh fish should smell more like the ocean than it does "fishy." If you're buying a whole fish, the eyes should be clear and shiny, with firm flesh and red gills. Make sure your fish fillets aren't showing any signs of discoloration, darkening, or drying around the edges.

Follow the 10 Minute Rule.

Here's a simple home cook rule to keep you from overcooking your fish. Cook fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning it over halfway through the cooking time. For example, a 1-inch thick swordfish steak should cook for about 5 minutes on each side, 10 minutes total. The ideal internal temperature should be just under 125º F.

When in doubt, pull it off the hear sooner than you think—you can always throw it back on! Your fish should feel slightly firm and should flake off easily with a fork.

Have a favorite fish recipe? Let us know, we're always looking to expand our repertoire!

When in doubt, keep it simple.

Fish is just as versatile as other protein alternatives and often cooks in half the time. Baking, grilling, and pan-frying are our favorite methods of preparing fish for quick weekday meals. That said, many people prefer to cook bolder fish in the oven to contain any fishy odors. If you're worried about that, we'd save the stovetop for white fish in your non-stick pan and keep your salmon and tuna dishes to the oven on a Baking Sheet or non-stick pan (they're oven-safe)!

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