As an important source of protein, fish can be a refreshing, healthful alternative to more common meat choices for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Like chicken, fish is versatile and can be used in many different recipes, but it can also be an unexciting, flavorless meal if not prepared with some thought.
This is certainly true, for example, if you limit your cooking choices to a simple pan-fry with a squeeze of lemon. There are many ways to make fish a more exciting, flavorful meal. Let's look at a few.
1. How To Cook Frozen Fish
Many recommend storing fish at 0° F (-18º C) or colder. At these temperatures, white fish will keep its quality for around three months, while oily fish will keep for about two months. When you're buying frozen fish at the supermarket, make sure the fish is frozen solid. Avoid fish that is partially thawed, and also look to see that there is no freezer burn and that the packaging is not damaged.
It is best to defrost fish overnight in the refrigerator. Accelerating the thawing process with water can cause an undesirable change in the texture of the fish, and leach some of the flavor and nutrients from the meat. Cooking fish right out of the freezer is okay. Don't thaw fish at room temperature.
2. How To Choose Fresh Fish For Best Taste
When buying fresh fish, look to see that the eyes are clear, dark and not sunken. The skin and scales should be undamaged and have a moist, firm and shiny appearance. The fish should smell like it just came out of the sea; avoid fish with a strong, fishy odor.
When storing fish for a short time, remove it from its packaging, rinse it thoroughly with cold water, dry it well with paper towels, cover it again with clean packaging, and store it at the bottom of the refrigerator where it is coldest.
Click To Enlarge.
The Skin And Scales Should Be Undamaged
And Have A Moist, Firm And Shiny Appearance.
3. Don't Overcook
If there is a single most important fish-cooking tip, it's to not overcook it! Because of the varying thickness and types of fish available, it is difficult to give specific cooking times. However, it is quite easy to tell when your fish is ready.
Just cut into the meat and look to see if it has gone from a slight translucent appearance to a white or opaque color. You can also tell when fish is cooked by how easily the knife cuts into it. Cooking time for most fish is very short, so don't leave your fish unattended.
4. Barbecuing Fish
Many people like to grill their fish on the barbecue, especially during the summer months. Fish, however, is particularly susceptible to drying out with this cooking method. This is because fish has more of a tendency to sweat its moisture out during cooking than other meats.
To minimize moisture loss, make sure you don't overcook the fish, as previously mentioned. You can also guard against drying out your fish by marinating the fish with one of your favorite marinade recipes.
The use of a small amount of olive oil in the marinade will help seal in the juices. Try out this marinade recipe.
You may also wish to mold a tinfoil tray for the barbecue. This will catch the moisture of the fish and the marinade drippings so you can spoon it back onto the fish.
5. Mayonnaise & Broil
Coat your fish entirely with non-fat or low-fat mayonnaise. It sounds odd, but it's quite good... and very quick and easy, too! The mayonnaise holds the moisture in while adding a unique flavor to the fish.
You can also add your favorite seasonings to the mayonnaise. This broiling recipe is good for such fish as:
6. Not Just For Chicken
There are many ready-to-use commercial sauce preparations - such as teriyaki sauce - at the supermarket from which you can choose. Most sauces that go well with chicken can also go well with fish. You may want to try substituting fish where you include chicken in one of your favorite recipes.
7. Add A Low-Fat Batter
A popular way to make fish more enjoyable is to batter it. For a healthy, low-fat batter, try using a pancake mix with a white fish fillet. Then cook the battered fish in a non-stick frying pan, making sure you've coated the entire fish to protect its moisture. Avoid deep-frying to keep your fish lean.
Cook the fish in a non-stick pan with no oil or just a small amount. Typically, it's white fish such as sole, cod, flounder, halibut, turbot, and monkfish that you would batter. You can also add your favorite seasonings to this batter to make it even tastier.
As an added tip, try placing your fish fillets into a resealable plastic bag with pancake mix and shaking it. This is a great way to keep your hands a little cleaner. Then place your battered fillets on a non-stick frying pan with a small amount of oil or butter.
8. Microwaving Fish
The microwave is a quick way to cook up some great-tasting fish. It's best to use a microwave-safe dish with a lid to keep your fish moist and tender. Add your favorite seasonings to spice up an otherwise dull microwave fish dish.
Also, try adding one of your favorite ready-to-use sauces from the supermarket into your microwave dish. Cooking time in the microwave is generally about four minutes on a high setting for every pound of fish.
With these tips, you should be well on your way to including a variety of delicious, high-protein, muscle building fish dishes in your meal plan. Be a brave "sole" and add some fish to your diet today!
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