We’ve always known that cooking with seafood is fun, delicious and easy. But at the same time, we realize that not all of our Dish on Fish followers have had a chance yet to discover or enjoy the full seafood experience. When it comes to cooking at home, we recognize that our audience’s kitchen skills range from beginner to advanced. And for those who want a little extra help in the kitchen, that’s why we’re here. In the past, we’ve cleared up some general misconceptions about seafood, but today we’re going to focus on providing you some helpful tips and tricks for cooking it.
Styles of Cooking
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume at least two to three servings of seafood a week. Between the variety of fresh, frozen and canned seafood offerings and a myriad of preparation styles, it’s easy to get creative and diverse with your seafood cooking. Here are some popular methods to cook seafood:
- Baked Seafood: Seafood baked in the oven is a super easy and minimally-messy option perfect for salmon, cod, tilapia, Wild Alaska Pollock, trout and other white fish. Brush on a marinade and make sure your oven is pre-heated. Love sheet pan meals? Add your veggies to the pan and dinner will be ready in a snap.
- Broiled Seafood: Crank up the broiler for some really flavorful and fast seafood dishes. Crabcakes, shrimp, scallops, salmon and tuna steaks are cooked to perfection with that craveable crunch that comes from the broiler. Brush your seafood with a little healthy fat like olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper!
- Pan-fried Seafood: You’ll be amazed by the flavorful sear you can achieve with just a drizzle of olive oil and some amazing seafood. Pick a species, season well, heat the pan and drizzle on the olive oil. Sear, flip, sear and then plate for a crispy crunch on the outside and a flaky, flavorful inside.
- Air-Fryed Seafood: We may be a bit obsessed with air-frying seafood. If you crave a healthy alternative to deep-fried seafood or want a quick, mess-free method, try air-frying. Retain all the flavor of traditional frying while kicking up both the convenience and nutrition. Air frying seafood is easy and fun, in our humble opinion – just try out our Air Fryer Shrimp Tempura recipe and see for yourself! We also love salmon, scallops, crab cakes, home-made calamari (recipe coming soon!) and more in the air-fryer.
- Blackened Seafood: If you’re a fan of intense flavors and adding a spicy kick to your dish, try blackening your next seafood meal. Blackening traditionally involves mixing flavors like chili pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, oregano, salt, thyme and so forth. Blackened fish can be made on a stove-top or on the grill. Think shrimp, salmon, tuna steaks, tilapia, cod, Wild Alaska pollock, grouper, scallops, haddock and more!
- Poached Seafood: If you want a tender bite of seafood, poaching is the way to go! Poaching seafood is an easy way to infuse flavor – whether you poach in a vegetable broth, white wine or coconut milk. To poach seafood you need a pan large enough so the liquid will cover your seafood. You can add a ton of flavor to the fish by adding ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, ginger to the poaching liquid – or any flavor profile you enjoy. Simmer gently until the fish is opaque. Try this with salmon, tilapia, cod, haddock, rockfish, lobster, mussels, clams and more!
- Grilled Seafood: As the weather gets warmer, cooking outdoors not only is enjoyable, it also gets you out in the sun, where your body can absorb some valuable vitamin D! Capitalizing on a barbecue’s natural flavors, grilling is primo for preparing seafood – the cooking process requires no extra oil and your fish or shellfish is done within a matter of minutes.
Various Types of Seafood and Their Cooking Times
Knowing how long (and at what temperature) to cook your seafood is essential to perfecting your dish. Here are some tricks for cooking your next seafood meal.
- Fresh Fish: When it comes to knowing how to cook fresh fish, a general rule of thumb is to check the fish’s thickness. Measure the thickest portion of your fillet – ideally, you’ll want to cook the fish for 10 minutes (at around 375 to 400 degrees) per inch of thickness. For the best distribution of heat and, ultimately, the best taste, flip your fish halfway through the cooking process.
- Frozen Fish: Frozen fish will require a longer cook time and a higher temperature – around 450 degrees if you haven’t thawed out your catch! First, remove any excess ice crystals by rinsing the fish with cool water. Next, lightly rub the fish with oil, then place into a pan to cook for roughly 4-5 minutes on the stovetop. At this point, the fish should be at the proper temperature for adding in seasonings and continuing the cooking process as if it’s a piece of fresh fish. Remember to cook fresh fish 10 minutes (at 375 to 400 degrees) for every 1 inch of thickness. Make sure the fish is thoroughly cooked before eating. You can use a thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of fish is 145 F degrees.
- Crustaceans (like shrimp, crab, and lobster): While there are many ways to cook crustaceans, the most popular way is to boil them. And grilling is the No. 2 choice. Lobsters typically require anywhere from 17 to 20 minutes of boiling time, while shrimp take roughly 5 minutes and crabs take around 10. The best way to tell if a crustacean is sufficiently cooked or not is to look at its color. Its general tone will transition from a precooked blue hue to a perfectly cooked red appearance, while the meat will become almost opaque.
- Mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops): Like crustaceans, mollusks are typically boiled. Seafood like clams, mussels, and oysters take roughly 5 minutes to fully cook – you’ll know they’re done when their shells have opened. As for preparing scallops, whether you are broiling or searing, the best way to tell if a scallop is cooked to perfection is to look for a golden brown coloring on both sides and a slight breaking apart along the edges.
Embrace the Seasonings!
Lastly, we encourage you to get creative when it comes to blending spices, herbs and other seasonings with your fish, crustaceans, and shellfish. Whether you’re introducing citrus fruits like lemon or earthy flavors like dill or parsley into your seafood meal prep, each combination of seasonings can bring out a completely different taste from your dish. It’s entirely up to you!
Ready to put our tips and tricks to the test? Give these simple seafood recipes a try: