Tips for Cooking Fish

The Healthy Choice

         Seafood is known to be high in vitamins and minerals while being low in saturated fat and calories. Studies have shown that eating two seafood meals a week can be helpful in lowering your cholesterol levels. When you're in a hurry and need something healthy, fish is the original fast food.

The Ten Minute Rule

        A good guideline to follow when cooking finfish is known as the ten minute rule. This can be applied when baking, broiling, grilling, steaming and poaching fillets, steaks or even whole fish. The ten minute rule is as follows:

  1.  Measure the seafood at its thickest point. If the fish is stuffed or rolled, measure it after stuffing or rolling.
  2. At 450 degrees, cook it 10 minutes per inch thickness of the fish, turning the fish halfway through the cooking time. Example: A 1-inch fish steak should be cooked 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. Pieces of fish less than 1/2 inch thick do not have to be turned over.
  3. Add five minutes to the total cooking time if you are cooking the fish in foil or if the fish is cooked in a sauce.
         Whole fish, whole stuffed fish, fillets, stuffed fillets, steaks and chunks of fish can all be baked. It is recommended to use pieces of similar size fish for even cooking. The best way to bake a fish is to preheat the oven to 450 degrees while following the ten minute rule; bake uncovered and baste if so desired. Bake your fish on a mixture of chopped vegetables for a quick and satisfying dinner.
       Steaks, whole fish, split whole fish and fillets tend to be a bit better when it comes to broiling fish. Place your fish, one inch thick or less, two to four inches from the heat source. If your pieces of fish are thicker, place them five to six inches away from the heat source. Baste frequently with an oil-based marinade. Following the ten minute rule, cook on one side for half the total cooking time, basting once or twice. Turn the fish over to continue broiling and basting.
Sauteing or Pan Frying
        This is found to be one of the best methods for cooking fillets and pan-dressed fish like trout, spot, croaker and catfish. You can dip the fish into seasoned flour, cornmeal or bread crumbs just before sauteing. Heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in a skillet large enough to hold your fish. When the pan is very hot, place the fish into the skillet. Saute for half the total time as determined by the ten minute rule, turn over to complete your cooking.
Tips for Cooking Shellfish
          Crabs, scallops, clams, and oysters are known to become tough and dry when overcooked. To cook raw shellfish, shucked or in the shell it is handy to follow these basic guidelines:
  • Shucked shellfish (clams and oysters) become plump and opaque when cooked thoroughly and the edges of the oysters start to curl. It is suggested to follow these methods to cook; boil shucked oysters for 3 minutes, fry them in oil at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or baking them for ten minutes at 450 degrees.
  • Clams and oysters in the shell will begin when cooked. Steam for 4 to 9 minutes or boil or boil them for 3 to 5 minutes after opening.
  • Scallops turn milky white or opaque and firm when cooked. Depending on the size of the scallops, they take around 3 to 4 minutes to cook thoroughly.
As always these products are available via our website, email or by phone. Contact us today to enjoy the best of Virginia's seafood.