Crumb-Topped Baked Fish

Cooking Seafood

Whether you like to use fresh or frozen fish, shellfish or canned seafood products, you'll find plenty of seafood recipes here to make a delicious meal. Once you've selected your seafood, remember to closely follow the recipe directions to avoid overcooking.

Buy fresh fish fillets or steaks that have firm, elastic and moist-looking flesh. The skin should be shiny and bright. Whole fish should have eyes that are not sunken or cloudy and a firm body that is springy to the touch. Fresh fish should have a mild smell. Avoid fish with a strong fishy odor, bruised skin and flesh with drying edges.

Buy frozen fish in packages that are solidly frozen, tightly sealed and free of freezer burn and odor.

Follow these guidelines for how much fish to purchase per person.

  • 1 pound whole fish yields 1 serving.
  • 1 pound pan-dressed fish yields 2 servings.
  • 1 pound steaks or fillets yields 3 to 4 servings.

Prepare fresh fish within 1 to 2 days after it is caught or purchased because it is highly perishable. Freshly caught fish should be pan-dressed, washed in cold water, blotted dry with paper towels, placed in an airtight container or heavy-duty plastic bag and refrigerated. Refrigerate freshly caught or purchased fish in the coldest area of your refrigerator.

Wrap fish in freezer paper, heavy-duty foil or heavy-duty plastic bags for long-term storage. Freeze oily fish for up to 3 months and lean fish for up to 6 months.

Not all markets carry all types of fish. The type of fish—lean, moderately oily and oily—influences the cooking method. When looking for a fish substitute, it is usually best to substitute within the same fat category.

Defrosting Guidelines

The thicker the package, the longer it will take to defrost. When defrosting fish or shellfish in the refrigerator, place a tray under the package to catch any liquid or juices to keep the refrigerator clean. Allow 12 or more hours to thaw a 1-pound package.

Cold-water thawing is an option that takes less time than refrigeration defrosting, but requires more attention. The fish or shellfish must be in a leakproof bag such as its original tightly sealed wrapper. If its package is not leakproof, then place in a heavy-duty plastic bag. Submerge the wrapped seafood in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the seafood is thawed. For this method, allow 1 to 2 hours for every pound.

Cooking Methods for Fish

Baking: Large Whole Fish, Steaks and Fillets (Pan-Dressed Whole Fish are usually baked at 350°.)

Broiling: Fillets or Steaks

Grilling: Fillets or Steaks

Pan-Frying: Fillets and Pan-Dressed Fish

Poaching: Fillets, Steaks or Pan-Dressed Fish

Sauteing: Fish Nuggets or Chunks

Steaming: Fillets, Steaks or Pan-Dressed Fish

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