Fish Facts

Everyone advises us to eat more fish for a healthier diet, but I don't know that much about the different kinds available. Which kind doesn't taste so "fishy" and which ones have few if any bones? I'd really like to incorporate fish into our meals, but I hate to spend the money and effort only to be disappointed by a strong fishy taste or a not-so-good recipe. —N.H., Brookings, South Dakota

If your family’s not wild about fish, start with some of the milder flavored types. Cod, haddock, flounder, sole and walleye are all pleasantly mild and have a delicate texture. Fish with more distinctive flavors and firmer textures include halibut, red snapper, orange roughy, catfish, sea bass, trout and salmon. Typically, fish is sold whole or cut into fillets or steaks. To avoid bones, purchase fillets, the boneless sides of the fish. A steak is a vertical cut and generally has some of the backbone, rib bone and skin still attached. Fortunately, these large bones and skin can be easily removed after cooking. The fishy taste you refer to has more to do with the quality of the fish than the type. For best results, only purchase fish that smells and looks good, whether it is refrigerated or frozen. Good-quality refrigerated fish does not have a heavy fishy odor. Fillets and steaks should have a fresh-cut appearance with no discoloration or browning around the edges. Prepackaged fish should be tightly wrapped with no air space between the fish and wrapping. There should be no liquid in the package. Frozen fish should be frozen solid. The package should not contain ice crystals or water stains (possible indications that the package was mishandled). The fish should not have any yellow or white discoloration (evidence of drying out or freezer burn). Store fish in the coolest part of your refrigerator for not more than 1 or 2 days. Frozen fish should be thawed in its original package in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze.