A lot of people say they avoid making fish because they don't know how to cook it. In fact, it's just about the easiest--and fastest--way to make a healthy dinner. Just follow a few simple suggestions and it's pretty foolproof.
Fish has a terrific health profile and we should all eat more of the stuff. And it's almost always better to prepare food at home, versus eating at a restaurant or picking up something that someone else has cooked whether at a gourmet-to-go place, the supermarket's ready-made case or a drive-through at the fast-food joint.
Here are a few tips for putting more fish on the table:
- Buy fillets, either fresh or frozen.
- The go-to cooking method is to sauté almost any kind of fish in a pan. Use one with a nonstick surface and you really don't need any oil, although a little olive oil adds a nice flavor. It's easy to overcook fish in the oven, and most fish is too delicate to hold together on the grill.
- Heat the nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and other herbs or spices that you like. Among herbs, tarragon marries well with most fish varieties. Cook on one side for a couple of minutes, until it's starting to brown. Carefully turn over (with tongs or a spatula) and cook the other side.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for a few more minutes. Almost all varieties of fish are incredibly quick-cooking--a real plus for the weeknight cook!
- Add a few ingredients to the pan to make a sauce. Squeeze a lemon over top, sprinkle some chopped garlic in the pan and stir; spoon a pesto sauce or jarred tapenade--the possibilities are endless.
The photo is of salmon and tuna steak cooked in a nonstick pan by the method described above, served over greens with cooked potatoes, green beans, capers and tomatoes. Spoon a simple vinaigrette over everything and you have a riff on Salade Nicoise.
Don't be intimidated by cooking fish. It's easy, and the results are wonderfully healthy, and tasty, too.