Jimmy contacted me at the radio station wanting information on what kinds of
herbs go well with fish. He watches what he eats and mostly steams his
foods. So, I created a list of fish and suggested herbs for Jimmy that is at the
bottom of this page.
I have also included information about finding, handling and cooking all
kinds of different fish and seafood. I prefer wild caught, fresh fish and
recommend working with the fish monger at the grocery store to determine the
freshest fish available. Though I say it is jest, there is no fish species
When shopping, purchase seafood last and keep it cold during the trip home.
What to look for at the store:
-Fresh whole fish should have:
-- A shiny surface with tightly adhering scales.
-- Gills that are deep red or pink, free of slime, mucus and off-odor.
-- Clean shiny belly cavity with no cuts or protruding bones.
-- A mild aroma, similar to the ocean.
-- Eyes clear and not sunk in.
-Fresh steaks, fillets and loins should have:
-- A translucent look.
-- Flesh that is firm and not separating.
-- A mild odor, similar to the ocean.
-- No discoloration.
-- Packaging that keeps them from being bent in an unnatural position
Preparation and handling raw fish and seafood:
-- Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to prevent bacterial
-- After handling raw seafood thoroughly wash knives, cutting surfaces,
sponges and your hands with hot soapy water.
-- Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
-- Discard marinade; it contains raw juices which may harbor bacteria.
--When marinade is needed for basting reserve a portion before adding raw
Cooking fish and seafood:
-- The general rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, at the thickest
part of the fillet or steak, at 400-450 degrees F. The fish should temp at
-- If fish is cooked in parchment, foil or a sauce, add 5 minutes to the
total cooking time.
-- Fillets less than 1/2 inch thick do not need to be turned during cooking.
--Fish cooks quickly. Do not overcook.
--Fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and flakes easily when tested
with a fork.
-- Poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, sautéing, microwaving are excellent
low-fat cooking methods, if you do not add high fat ingredients.
--Marinate in your favorite salad dressing prior to cooking.
--Broil, bake, steam or microwave, then cube and add to pasta or salad
greens for a delicious salad.
--Broil or grill with lime-butter and seasoned salt.
--Oil the grill to prevent fish from sticking.
-- Bake whole fish with a crab or shrimp stuffing.
--Add leftover fish in broken pieces to salads, soups, stuffing or sauces.
Fish/Seafood recommended for steaming: Fish fillets or steaks,
shellfish, whole fish.
Steamed seafood is prepared by placing a rack over boiling water in a covered
pan. No added fat is needed for a great health-wise choice. For a complete
dinner in minutes, steam vegetables beside the seafood.
- Arrange the seafood in a steamer.
Season with salt and pepper and recommended herbs (see list below)
- Bring the water to a boil in the
steamer, add the seafood on the rack (be careful that the seafood does not
touch the water) and cover tightly with the lid.
- Steam the seafood until it is
cooked in the center. Cooked seafood turns from translucent to opaque in the
center when done.
Lean, white flesh fish/seafood is recommended for poaching, sautéing, pan
frying and deep frying:
Ocean, northern and freshwater Perch
Moderately fatty fish is amenable to most cooking
methods with the possible exception of deep frying:
Catfish (though catfish is very tasty deep fried!)
Smelt (traditionally deep fried)
Orange Roughy (deep fried fillets make fabulous
Fatty fish is best with dry cooking methods such as
grilling and broiling:
Suggested herbs and spices to cook with fish/seafood:
Cod- Fennel Seed, Lemon, Parsley, Thyme
Clams- Garlic, Marjoram, Thyme
Crab- Basil, Tarragon, Thyme
Fish casseroles- Celery Seed, Chives, Mustard Seed, Parsley
(white sauce base)
Fish stews- Celery Seed, Chives, Mustard Seed, Parsley
(tomato based stock)
Halibut- Basil, Dill Seed, Fennel Seed, Dill weed, Lemon,
Marjoram, Saffron, Summer Savory, Tarragon, Thyme
Lobster- Basil, Tarragon
Salmon- Basil, Chives, Dill Seed, Dill weed, Lemon,
Marjoram, Summer Savory, Tarragon
Salmon (broiled)- Rosemary, Summer Savory, Tarragon
Scallops- Garlic, Dill weed, Marjoram, Thyme
Seafood (creamed)- Marjoram, Oregano
Seafood- Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Curry Powder, Garlic,
Ginger, Tabasco Sauce
Shrimp- Basil, Chives, Garlic, Dill weed, Oregano, Summer
Sole- Chervil, Dill weed, Saffron, Summer Savory, Tarragon,
Tilapia- Dill weed, lemon, lime, paprika, parsley
Trout- Garlic, Dill weed, Parsley