I’ve always loved the taste and versatility of fish, and of course it can be a great source of lean protein. But studies that suggest eating seafood actually helps our brains function better have made me even happier about cooking it more often.
Here are some of my favorite, off-the-beaten path ways to prepare fish, all of which are simple enough for weeknights.
And remember to think about the health of our oceans too; choose responsibly caught or farmed species and be open-minded about trying new types if they’re a more environmentally friendly choice.
Baking in Parchment
By folding your fish into a parchment parcel and then baking it you’ll seal in all its delicious juices, almost guaranteeing moist and delicious results.
Don’t be put off if you’ve only had this dish in a flashy restaurant. It’s a super-simple technique, and since packets can be assembled a few hours before baking it fits into almost any dinner schedule.
I like recipes where thinly sliced veggies bake right inside with the fish, like in this Baked Fish Packets with Broccoli and Squash opens in a new tab that you can make using almost any fillet.
Give burger night a makeover by trying a lean and delicious seafood burger. Ready-to-cook patties are available at most seafood counters, or you can easily make your own from just about any firm, flavorful fillet: Tuna, salmon and halibut are popular choices.
Fish burgers cook in a matter of minutes on the stovetop or grill so they’re ideal for weeknights.
These Salmon Burgers with Blue Cheese Veggie Slaw opens in a new tab are one of my favorite for a super-quick, totally yummy dinner.
I’m a big fan of steaming: It’s quick, requires absolutely no added fat and is ideal for delicate fish that can easily overcook in the dry heat of the oven.
This recipe for Lemongrass Steamed Barrumundi opens in a new tab infuses lemongrass right into the steaming water, a great technique for adding extra flavor to mild fish varieties — and the aroma is heavenly!
Poaching and Braising
Like steaming, poaching and braising are terrific way to make sure even the leanest fish comes out deliciously moist and succulent. Simmered directly in an aromatic liquid, your fish will be absorbing both moisture and flavor.
Dry white wine is my favorite ingredient for poaching fish; it features in this delicious Poached Halibut with Ginger and Cilantro opens in a new tab that you can serve either hot or chilled. Also terrific is Spicy Coconut Braised Black Cod with Colorful Vegetables opens in a new tab; it’s packed with elegant Southeast Asian flavors, and using reduced fat coconut milk is a better choice.
And don’t forget ceviche when you’re looking for new ways to serve fish. Allowing chunks of seafood to “cook” in an acid (usually lime juice) results in remarkably fresh, pure flavor.
Although it’s usually treated as an appetizer, I think ceviche makes an ideal light meal served over a bed of crisp baby greens.
This Peruvian Ceviche opens in a new tab is a classic, and the recipe works beautifully with almost any fillet. If you’d rather not use raw fish, this Salmon Ceviche opens in a new tab uses precooked fish.
What are your favorite ways to prepare fish?