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Author Topic: Cooking Fish?
RackhamsRazor
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For some odd reason, I have been craving fish. IT might have something to do with the fact that it has been almost a year since I had some kind of fish. I do not usually go out of my way for fish and I have never once cooked it before. I love shrimp, crab, lobster, clam chowder, oyster stew, etc, but I am just not a huge fish fan. However, I am determined to have some fish right now, but I do not know what kind or how to cook it.

I am looking for fish that is not very "fishy" tasting. Friends of mine have suggested salmon, tuna steak, or tilapia, but I do not know if these are just fish they like or if they truly feel that they are not very "fishy" tasting. If anyone out there knows of something I should try (that is also not super expensive), I would appreciate the help.

Also, considering I have never cooked fish before, I would love suggestions on how to cook it. I love spices and have quite a collection for a college student. Thanks Hatrack!

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Dagonee
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Tilapia is absolutely non-fishy unless it's too old. Cod, haddock, and flounder are good, too. Smell it before you buy it - if it smells fishy, don't buy it.

The easiest way to get good fish is to bread it and pan-fry it. Dry the fish, dredge it in flour (salted and seasoned with black pepper), tap all the excess flour off, dip it in beaten egg, then press panko bread crumbs into it and fry it until golden brown. Serve w/ good tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon juice.

There are better ways to prepare fish, but this is a more repeatable process. And it's very tasty.

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Sterling
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I tend to favor salmon- brush fillets with olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper and oregano, and cook in a 450 oven for about fifteen to eighteen minutes (from frozen), flipping once during cooking process.

I really didn't like fish much when I was a child, but I've steadily expanded. Cod (in the form of fish and chips) was the one sort I liked originally, then I grew into fresh tuna, mahi mahi, and salmon.

Tilapia has never really done it for me, though- I don't know if it's because the fish I've had hasn't been very good, but something about the taste just doesn't do it for me.

Surimi (also known as fake crab or krab) also tends to be easy on the palate. It's a good choice for making amateur sushi.

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martha
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I usually cook salmon or trout, neither of which I consider very fishy-tasting (as opposed to swordfish and bluefish, which I love but are definitely fishy).

Turn the oven to broil. Line a baking dish (preferably glass) with tin foil. Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Put it skin-side-down in the dish. Put a few pieces of butter evenly-spaced on top, you don't need much. You can use a bit of salt and pepper too, but I think it doesn't even need that.
Broil for 8 minutes, or ten if the piece of fish is uniformly an inch or more thick. Take it out of the oven, cut it open at its thickest point. It will probably not be cooked through -- if it's still raw (translucent) near the bottom, put it back in and broil another six minutes or so. Serve with a lemon wedge. I usually serve it with rice and either steamed broccoli or steamed zucchini.

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scifibum
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Salmon has more of a distinct flavor, but it's not a "fishy" flavor IMO, as much as a savory/meaty flavor. It's one of the reasons it is so popular, I think.

A lot of people really love halibut. It's not too fishy but it does have a habit of sweating out some milky gunk during cooking. Just be prepared for that. [Smile]

Van de Kamp's fish sticks never did me wrong with some nice tartar sauce. ;-). If you don't want a whole jar of tartar sauce, just mix some dill pickle relish with some mayo and you're in business.

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Tante Shvester
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You can get a tuna steak and sear it in a hot skillet, leaving the middle a bit underdone.

I like to coat the outside with spices before I sear it -- red and black pepper, kosher salt, allspice, ginger -- all good. I avoid the leafy herbs for this, because they tend to get burnt and bitter in the searing.

Alternatively, you can top it with a sauce. Since it's a tuna steak, I suppose you could use steak sauce.

I like fish that is fishy, which is one reason that I don't much care for the tuna steak -- I think it is the least fish-like of all the fishes. I do fix it for my husband, though, who likes it.

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scifibum
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Personally, unless it's in a sandwich with mayonnaise, I only like tuna when it's raw or VERY rare. Tastes vary, obviously, but if you decide you don't like a cooked tuna steak, try cooking it less - or try tuna raw at a sushi restaurant to gauge whether you like it that way. (You'll want to ensure you have fresh, high quality tuna of course.) Tante's suggestions are good, but soy sauce is also a classic and hard to beat accompaniment to tuna.
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Tante Shvester
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Oh, raw tuna, that I like a lot.
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Redskullvw
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When we went to EPCOT for my son's third birthday, we ate at the new Japanese Dining.

I ordered a bento box for dinner. Lucky for me the box contained a nice raw tuna steak. It smelled like the sea-literally like you were on the beach. And the taste was beyond words. There was a soy based dipping sauce, but after the first piece of tuna, I didn't use it again so I don't know whether it was as divine as the tuna was or not.

Most fish with low fat do better when broiled, steamed, poached, or even fried. Broiled is a bit dodgy because fish filets from low fat fish tend to be rather thin. If you haven't cooked a filet before under a broiler it is very easy to overcook a filet in a matter of seconds. Steamed is far easier, but again it is hard to know when to pull the fish from the steam. If you are too quick you get a filet that is hot and rubbery on the outside and raw in the middle. Wait too long and you have a flakey mess that tastes like used chewing gum. Poached kinda extracts too much flavor, but the instant it floats its done. You aren't likely to either over cook or undercook a poached filet.

Fried filets is one that you either love or hate. Personally I love fried fish. I'll even eat catfish if it is fried. With care, and a decent breading, almost any non-oily fish can be turned into a wonderful feast in a vat of hot oil.

As to fish with high levels of fat or those like swordfish & tuna with "red meat", you have the exact same cooking options and one additional one. High temperature grilling.It may seem oxymoronic to cook fish steaks at even higher grill/griddle temperatures than you do with terrestrial meat. But you need the higher heat to transmit through the fish steak very rapidly. Ideally, the exterior surface gets caramelized slightly, and the center is the equivalent of Medium Rare in about 4-7 minutes total cooking time.

One other way of cooking entire fish is using cedar planks exposed to a fire-pit.

That is simply beyond belief in how good it tastes.

As to seasonings, the more red/oily a fish is the bolder the spices can be. Lighter fish like Trout do better with lemon or light sauces. Stouter fish like Swordfish or Shark have bigger ranges of flavor and can shine through more aggressive sauces. For example the best Swordfish I ever had was served with an accompaniment of A-1 Steak Sauce.

In short fish really is easy to cook. But when you fist start cooking it you might mess up once or twice. But it is so worth it in the end once you know how to do it.

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ketchupqueen
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Poaching does extract flavor-- but there's an easy solution to that. Poach the fish with aromatics, then remove the fish and aromatics, reduce the liquid, and make a sauce of it. [Smile]
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Shigosei
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Try using something acidic with the fish. Lemon and other citrus is a common choice. One compound that causes the fishy taste is triethylamine. I've used the chemical before in the lab, and it smells very fishy, so I was amused to later discover that it's given off by fish that are not as fresh. Triethylamine is a base, which is probably why lemons are used to counteract the fishy taste. Some poaching liquids might use wine or vinegar for the acid. I've cooked salmon in a mix of the juices from fresh lemons, limes, and oranges. That works pretty well.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Poached kinda extracts too much flavor, but the instant it floats its done. You aren't likely to either over cook or undercook a poached filet.
Sous vide lets you avoid this problem and cook it to an exact temperature.
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Epictetus
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I'm a big fan of baked salmon fillets marinated (for about 20 minutes per side) in teriyaki sauce, served with stir fried veggies and rice. Delicious.
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RackhamsRazor
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Well, I am going to go to the Fresh Market tomorrow and see what looks the best out of the suggestions everyone gave me. I will let you know what I chose and how it turned out tomorrow night.
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ketchupqueen
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You can also try the recipes in the Recipezaar user-created cookbook "Fish to Please Fish Haters." (Even if you're not a fish hater, the recipes are remarkably good and not "fishy" tasting.)
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Godric 2.0
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My wife loves shellfish and even sushi, but hates cooked fish for whatever reason. I love it, so the other night I adapted a recipe in an attempt to make it more palatable for her:

First, I laid out pollock fillets in tinfoil on a baking pan and seasoned them with garlic salt and lemon pepper.

Then, I mixed:

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp chunky salsa
3 crushed cloves of garlic
1 tbsp crushed, fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin (this was a little too much)
1 fresh seeded and diced jalapeño pepper

I spread this over the top of the fillets and then covered with fresh, sliced onions and tomatoes and wrapped with the tin foil.

Cooked for 20 minutes and I got a tasty, potent dish that wasn't too "fishy".

For sides I had fried, breaded (with garlic salt and lemon pepper added to the breading mix) cucumbers that I had previously soaked in lemon juice with ranch dressing to dip (although these were so flavorful we didn't really use the dip), homemade coleslaw and honey butter biscuits.

Of course, my wife still didn't like it... Turns out she's not a big fan of cumin and cilantro flavors... And she's Mexican. I'd cook it again though if she's not eating.

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RackhamsRazor
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Well, the fish turned out pretty good. My fiance even liked it and he doesn't really eat fish either. I went with the salmon because it looked the freshest and it was on sale. I used a couple of different ingredients from suggestions above along with some ingredients I like to use.

I coated the salmon with some breadcrumbs, oregano, rosemary, and parsley (Tante-they did burn a little) as well as some salt, pepper, lemon peel, a dash of garlic and onion powder, a little olive oil, and lemon juice. I tried to cook it on a skillet first, but that turned out to be a bad idea, so I went to the oven. It was pretty tasty.

As a side dish, we had a ceasar salad and homemade potato chips. Unfortunately, it was my first time making potato chips and they didn't exactly turn out to be crispy...but they were still tasty!

Thanks for the help! We had a good dinner.

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