How to Cook Fish

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How to Cook Fish
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How to Cook Fish

Step 1

Cut a 1-pound fish fillet into 4 roughly equal portions or buy 4 small fillets, such as tilapia (about 5 ounces each), and cook one fillet per person.

Step 2

Dredge both sides of each piece of fish in seasoned flour. For a crispy crust with a delicate corn flavor, try dredging the fish in fine stone-ground cornmeal instead of flour.

Step 3

Cook fish, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. A plastic fish spatula or other flexible heatproof spatula is the best tool to help you turn the delicate fish fillets without breaking them.

4 No-Cook Sauces for Sautéed Fish

Turn your simple sautéed fish fillets into a restaurant-worthy entree by clicking through for easy recipes.

Image Credit: jupiterimages

Black Bean-Scallion Sauce

Combine 1 tablespoon each prepared black bean-garlic sauce, finely chopped scallion, rice vinegar and water, 1 teaspoon canola oil and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Garnish with more chopped scallion, if desired.

Click here for the recipe: Sweet & Black-Bean Scallion Sauce

Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa

Peel, core and dice 1 small pineapple. Transfer to bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup minced scallions, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro and lime juice, 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Toss and season with salt and pepper.

Click here for the recipe: Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa

Tartar Sauce

Combine 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1 chopped cornichon, 1 minced anchovy fillet, 1 tablespoon minced shallot and 1 teaspoon each chopped capers, chopped fresh parsley and dried tarragon in a small bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Click here for the recipe: Tartar Sauce

How to Choose Sustainable Fish

Download handy wallet-size guides for the best seafood choices from Blue Ocean Institute (blueocean.org) or Monterey Bay Aquarium (seafoodwatch.org). Or look for fish with the Marine Stewardship Council seal. Click through for sustainable fish options.

Image Credit: Corbis

Catfish

Look for U.S. farmed catfish—it’s sustainably raised in nonpolluting in land ponds, fed a mostly vegetarian diet.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Tilapia

U.S. farmed tilapia is considered the best choice. It’s raised in closed farming systems that protect nearby ecosystems. Central and South American tilapia is considered a good alternative. Avoid farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan.

Image Credit: Corbis

Haddock (Scrod)

To get the best choice, ask for U.S. Atlantic "hook-and-line-caught" haddock—this method causes the least damage to the sea floor and has the least by catch.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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By: Carolyn Malcoun

Raise your hand if you love fish but only eat it when you go out. If that's you, you're not alone. We get a lot of questions from readers, friends and family—and one thing we hear over and over again is that people don't know how to cook fish. (Making tuna salad doesn't count...) And since the USDA Dietary Guidelines now recommend that most Americans eat 8 ounces of heart-healthy fish and seafood each week, it's high time you learned how to make what's actually one of the easiest dinners around.


First, ask your local fish market or the fish counter at your favorite store what's fresh and what's sustainably caught. Depending on where you live, what's freshest might actually be fish that was frozen at sea and kept frozen until it arrived at your market (just defrost it overnight in your refrigerator before using). We like to use thinner white-fish fillets like catfish, tilapia and haddock, because they only take a few minutes to cook, but really you can use any kind of fish.

Now it's time to cook. The technique is the same no matter what type of fish you have. If your fillet is big, cut it into individual portions. Then lightly coat both sides in flour that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook the fish in a bit of oil in a nonstick pan until golden brown on both sides. That's it! Jazz it up with an easy no-cook sauce, like our light and creamy tartar sauce or spicy black bean-garlic sauce, and you'll have dinner on the table in no time. See how easy that was?

Check out the slideshow above to learn everything you need to know about cooking fish.

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