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Old 03-15-2008, 04:46 PM   #1
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Need help selecting/cooking fish

I am not a big fan of fish but would like to learn how to cook it at home. Right now our main fish is Gorton's! I don't know the first thing about buying it. I received some fish frozen from a friend's fishing trip but don't know what kind it is. We liked it but I don't know how to get more. I don't like strong flavored fish. Any suggestions on what kind to buy and how to tell if it is good?


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Old 03-15-2008, 05:04 PM   #2
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You might try tilapia. It's a mild-flavored and tasty fish. Look in the market for tilapia fillets. Pat them with some paper towels, dip in seasoned all-purpose flour, then in a beaten egg, then in some unseasoned bread crumbs (panko is especially good). Place the breaded fish on some waxed paper and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to allow the breading to set up a bit.

When you're ready to cook, put about 1/4 inch of canola oil in a skillet and heat until it just begins to shimmer. Carefully slip the fish into the hot oil and cook without turning for about 3 or 4 minutes. Using a long spatula, flip the fish over and cook about 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat to a wire rack and season immediately with a little salt. You should have nice, golden brown and crispy breaded fish. Enjoy!

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Old 03-15-2008, 05:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for bringing tilapia up, Katie. I've been meaning to pick some up because it seems like it's always on sale and I keep seeing it brought up here.
Until I do..... I buy frozen orange roughy when it's on sale. You can get a big, fill your plate sized filet for $4 something. A little cooking spray in a glass baking dish, a sprinkling of dill on the filet, bake until it flakes... mmmm.
Or a really easy way and one of my favorites is to season one side with a lot of cajun seasoning, get a skillet going on the stove hot, hot, hot (I use CI, do NOT use non-stick), throw in some butter and as soon as it melts, which should take about 3 seconds, put the filet in. Then season the other side of it. Flip it pretty quickly. I don't time, but when the side in the butter is backened but not not burned, it's time to flip. I would be surprised if it was more than two minutes. This cooks so fast it's hard to mess it up. I've been meaning to try this with tilapia. I call it blackened fish, but I don't know if it is in the true sense of the term.

And can you believe perch was 15.78/lb in the store a few days ago! That's outrageous. I gotta get me a boat again.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:33 PM   #4
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I always buy fresh fish or vacuum packed frozen at a high turn over store. If it's fresh, any white colored fish is uaually the mildest. DON'T be shy. Ask to smell it! It should not have any funky smell to it. Only what "fresh! fish" should smell like. Basically, it should not smell like much at all. Ask questions of the fish guy. When did it come in? What day do they usually get their fresh fish delivery? Has it been previously FROZEN and defrosted? If that is the case, ask if you can have some of the fish that is still frozen. Then you defrost it yourself at home.
My favorite way to cook mild fish is to put it on foil on a baking sheet, brush it generously with some mayonnaise , a bit of salt and pepper, sprinkle with fairly fine bread crumbs, (Panko is good) and top with thin shavings of butter. Not too much butter. Bake at 400 til the crumbs are brown. Usually by the time this happens, it's done. If it's thick, like Cod or Haddock., it might need to cook at 375 for a little longer.
I've been in the food business for over 30 years. Taught gourmet cooking, had a radio show for 2 yrs., and been a caterer for 19 yrs. in San Diego County.
Hope this helps.
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Victoria1 View Post
Ask questions of the fish guy. When did it come in? What day do they usually get their fresh fish delivery? Has it been previously FROZEN and defrosted? Victoria
Must be nice! My "fish guy" consists of a guy that stands behind the counter in a chain grocery store. He couldn't even tell me where to find the crab clusters they had on sale earlier this week . Luckily a stock person knew.
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:44 PM   #6
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jabbur, try sole or cod. Sprinkle each fillet with parmesan and bread crumbs (1/2 and 1/2 ratio) then drizzle with EVOO to set the coating. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes and enjoy.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:46 PM   #7
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I strongly second the tilapia suggestion.
Then google tilapia recipes and ENJOY!

Very versatile, easy to cook, does well baked, poached, grilled....
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:07 AM   #8
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Jabbur - any "white" fleshed fish will be mild tasting - flounder, sole, cod, tilapia, catfish. Literally, any filet that is white in color.

If you don't care for (or haven't developed a taste yet for) stronger flavored fish, just steer away from darker-fleshed fish.
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:17 AM   #9
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Any fish market or counter that has a "fishy" (or ammonia) smell, I walk away from. It means they're selling product that is less than fresh, and I don't want to be the guinea pig as to what it is! Fish should have a "fresh" smell... i.e., no smell at all.

I have a whole section in my book on how to buy and store fresh fish, but it's too long to copy in a post.
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
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I wasn't a big fish fan for a long time - love shellfish, but not finfish so much. A couple of years ago, I found a recipe for poaching salmon in water and white wine, served topped with a remoulade sort of sauce made of mayo, white wine vinegar and tarragon - it was wonderful. If you're interested, I'll find the recipe and post it.

Hey, that Trader Joe's near you had some frozen striped bass at a good price - that may have been what your friend caught. DH used to go fishing for stripers on the James River with friends. It's a local mild white fish. Here's a recipe that sounds good: Nick of Thyme Striped Bass

This is actually a very good site with a lot of basic info on fish: Virginia Seafood HTH.

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