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Cooking Seafood... A "How To" Guide

Fish can be cooked in several ways varying from poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, grilling sautéing and microwaving.  The most important thing to remember when cooking seafood is simply not to overcook it!


To bake fish, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place fish in a lightly-oiled, shallow baking dish, skin side down if baking fillets. Bake 6 - 12 minutes per inch thickness of fish until fish is just opaque throughout (add five minutes to total cooking time if fish is being baked in a sauce or wrapped in foil).


To broil fish, pre-heat pan, rinse fish under cold water and pat dry; season it on all sides if desired with salt, pepper and/or other spices. It is never necessary to add butter, margarine or oil when broiling fish. The fish will remain naturally moist as long as it is not overcooked. Steaks and whole fish should be turned once half-way through broiling. Fillets do not need to be turned. With care, lightly grease the hot broiler pan with oil or non-stick spray, arrange fish in a single layer, place pan about 4 to 5 inches from heat and monitor cooking carefully. Broil 6 - 12 minutes per inch thickness of fish until fish is just opaque throughout.

Sautéing, Pan-Frying

Sautéing and pan frying are ideal for the thinner fillets and very small whole fish 1 inch thick or less, and no longer than the average 10-inch skillet (smelt, trout, flounder). Shucked oysters, shrimp, scallops and squid also lend themselves quite well to this cooking method.

To sauté, first rinse fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towel. If desired lightly flour the the fish to help seal in the juices. In a skillet, add a combination of one tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon cooking oil and heat over medium high heat. Add fish to the pan of heated oil and butter mixture, being careful not to crowd because the fish will become soggy. Cook about 6-12 minutes per inch thickness until fish is just over half way through cooking. For thicker fish or whole fish reduce heat to medium. Drain fish on paper towel and transfer to a heated platter.

To panfry place cooking oil into a heavy duty skillet to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. The fish can be coated either with flour alone or breaded. To bread, first flour fish lightly. Dip the floured fish into an egg and water mixture, then into breadcrumbs, cornmeal, crushed cereal, crackers or nuts. Fry only as many fish at a time as you can fit in a single layer in the skillet over high heat. Cook fish 6-12 minutes per inch of thickness until fish is just opaque throughout.

Seafood Safety
This section examines safety with seafood and known illness.

Fish Recipes
Fish recipes on The Cooking Inn.

Seafood Recipes
Seafood recipes on The Cooking Inn

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