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Sauted fishIf you’re uncertain of how to cook delicious fish at home, you’ll be surprised by how simple it can be.

I know this may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t stress this enough – always buy fresh fish. When you’re shopping, choose mild-smelling fish that looks vibrant and clean. If seafood smells fishy or looks dull or discolored, don’t risk it. Make sure to keep seafood refrigerated or well-iced until it’s time to cook.

One of my favorite ways to serve seafood is to sear it in a sauté pan so that the moisture of the fish is sealed in by a golden-brown crispy crust. There are a few secrets to perfectly seared seafood: (1) Pat your fish dry – moisture on seafood will prevent it from browning; (2) Don’t touch! Have you ever tried to turn your seafood and had half of it end up stuck to the pan or grill? No good. Fish will release from the cooking surface on its own once it’s properly seared; and (3) Start fish cooking presentation side-down – it makes for a much nicer-looking plate.

Avoid overcooked seafood: 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness is a good guideline for cooking a piece of fish. Most shellfish is fully cooked in just a few minutes – as soon as it’s opaque – overcooked shellfish is rubbery and tough.

When poaching fish: start with cool poaching liquid, then warm the fish and liquid together – this will prevent uneven cooking.

For deep-fried fish (not exactly healthy, but so delicious), use a candy thermometer and keep oil between 350 and 375 degrees. No candy thermometer? Put a small piece of bread in the oil – your oil is to temp if the bread turns golden brown in about 45 seconds.

Less is more when it comes to seasoning seafood. Using just a little salt, pepper, citrus and maybe some fresh herbs will allow the delicate flavors of your fresh and perfectly-cooked fish to shine through!

Posted in: Ask The Chef

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