The Perfect Cooking Method for Fish
Cooking fish at home can be simple and satisfying, without the stink. The key to cooking delicious and healthy fish at home is twofold:
1. Buy good quality fish
2. Cook at a low temperature
How to Buy Good Quality Fish
Buying fish doesn’t have to be an intimidating ordeal. Look for products that are Ocean Wise Certified or recommended by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. All of our seafood at Fresh City is recommended by Ocean Wise, meaning that the fish was raised and harvested in a sustainable way that ensures the long-term health of that species as well as the greater marine ecosystem.
When it comes to fish, fresh doesn’t always mean freshest. Look for fisheries that freeze fish at-sea, or flash-freeze such as Skipper Otto. It may seem counterintuitive, but flash-freezing a fish immediately after being caught locks in the freshness until you’re ready to cook. These frozen fish are often fresher than fresh, and a better value. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy freshly caught fish, ask the fish monger if you can take a whiff before buying. A freshly caught fish will have no fishy smell, it will instead smell a little earthy/briney like the ocean.
How to Cook Fish
Fish has a very small temperature range at which it’s considered “done”. When cooking at higher temps, such as when pan frying fish, minutes matter. A perfectly cooked fish can quickly turn to overdone in a matter of a minute or two when cooked over high heat. Pan frying fish over high heat often leads to oil-splattered stoves and lingering fish odors.
Avoid the splattery mess and give yourself more wiggle room with cooking time by cooking fish low and slow in the oven. We recommender to cook your fish in a 300F oven, in a shallow baking/casserole dish with oil and seasonings (see below for our favourites). Depending on the size and thickness of your cut of fish, it might take anywhere between 10-30 minutes for your fish to be done. Although 30 minutes may seem like a relatively quick cooking time for dinner, it’s actually quite long for fish fillets. The lower cooking temperature ensures that you have me insurance against overcooking a fish, an extra minute won’t ruin dinner. The lower temperatures also mean less fishy smells, and a whole lot less to clean up. But cooking fish in the oven can often make the fish look less “done”, and mislead to home cooks to thinking the fish needs more cooking time. Be sure to check for doneness when the fish begins to lose it’s raw appearance and turn opaque.
How to Check if the Fish is Done Cooking
1. Insert an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the fillet to check for doneness. While Health Canada has a blanket statement for all fish, which recommends the internal temp to be 158F, we find that will result in overcooked fish. We instead recommend to cook salmon to 125-130F, and most white fish to 130-135F.
2. Or use a metal cake tester, or a straightened paper clip to poke the fish in the thickest part of the fillet. Remove the tester and press it against your bottom lip. Does it feel warm? Then the fillet is done. If it still feels cool, return the fish to the oven to continue cooking.
3. Or try using the back of a spoon to gently press against the top of the fillet. The fish should flake or gently pull apart easily. If it stays in one piece, or you find yourself digging into the fillet with the spoon, return it to the oven to continue cooking.
Try Our Organic Meal Kits
Featuring Ocean Wise Recommended Fish