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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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Hi,
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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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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Old 03-17-2008, 10:18 AM   #11
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I hate to be contrary but I am not a big fan of Talapia. I find it has poor textue and little taste. It is healthful and easy to find but in my experience a cod flounder or sole will hold up better when you cook it.

If you want to explore fish more I owuld go towards some of the steaks like Tuna or Swordfish as they are flavorful and meaty but should not taste strongly fishy and you can grill and eat them much like you would a steak

If you want milder:

I have had some amazing sea bass just baked in parchment flaky white and tasteful but not "fishy"

Salmon is very fatty and therefor harder to ruin than most you can bake it broil it or grill it.

IMHO the best results with fish come from 2 things:

First and foremeost a quality product. The fresher the better. It should NOT smell fishy or look discolored or be slimy. I have had much better results in general with fresh fish from a fishmarket than I have with frozen pre packaged fish but this can be good sometimes.

Secondly once you start with a quality piece if fish IMHO the best preperation is keep it simple.. a litte olive oil garlic S&P can go a long way. Bake in foil or parchment, grill, or simply sear. Just dont over cook it and you will have good results.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
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?
I'm partial to salmon. There are several ways to cook/prep at home other than crumb coating and frying in oil, i.e. grilled, pan-fried, steamed, poached, roasted/baked & use minimal seasonings like lemon or lime juice & dill. If your not a fish fan, buy a small pkg in the fish section of your market, check the expiration date & let your nose be your guide. If you don't care for a strong 'fish' taste, incorporate the salmon into a pasta dish, salad, pizza etc. Here are just a few ideas:

Cooking : Salmon : Salmon Recipes : Food Network
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:43 AM   #13
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Tilapia would be my first suggestion. You can try catfish, mahi mahi, cod, striped bass, grouper, red snapper. All these are mild flavored fish.
Try a seafood market in your area. They are generally very helpful, and would have more information than people manning the seafood counter in grocery store.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:07 AM   #14
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Thanks to all of your replies. I think I will try a local seafood market near my house. I had steered away from it for a while because I assumed it would be expensive. Now that I am just cooking for two, I can be more selective. I'm going to be out and about tomorrow (got homework today that I obiously am putting off!) and will stop in there and pick up a good piece of fish to try tomorrow night. Thanks again. I'll let you know what I got and how it turned out.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:54 AM   #15
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Here's another tilapia recipe I posted a while back: http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...4&postcount=14

Good luck
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:57 AM   #16
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A chef on Colameco's show recommended a mild white fish like flounder to start off with. Won't stink up the house, but ask your fishery what is fresh. Cook in a pan with olive oil/butter, thyme, white wine salt and pepper, lemon juice. Remove from pan and whisk in another tablespoon of butter to make a sauce.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:03 PM   #17
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Just a quick side note: I watched a bunch of those shows I recorded on my DVR yesterday. Alot of chefs and Mike Colameco say it's the quality and freshness of the ingredients more than the recipe itself. Make the main ingredient shine by enhancing it's flavor, not covering it up.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:11 PM   #18
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I'll also chime in that I'm also not a Tilapia fan. Not because of the flavor, but because - except for U.S.-raised catfish - I'm just not a fan of farmed fish. Way too many adverse environmental concerns for my taste.

Most of the Tilapia - whether whole or filets - that you see in stores is imported (usually from China &/or Thailand), & the conditions under which they're raised are fairly hair-raising as far as filth, antibiotics, & chemicals are concerned. As far as U.S.-raised Tilapia, my only exposure to it has been in Asian-specialty markets where it's available live from fishtanks. Seeing those large fish swimming around in small tanks of murky water filled with their own feces just put me off wanting to see it on my dinnerplate.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:21 PM   #19
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A chef on Colameco's show recommended a mild white fish like flounder to start off with.
Who? lol. Sounds like a Fellini flick. Snapper, trout, monk are a few other faves. Never tried Talapia. Wouldn't be my choice. Maybe folks buy it cause it's inexpensive? If you are truly not a fish lover/fan, go with another dish, as you will kill a good piece of fish by breading and deep frying. Just my opinion.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:24 PM   #20
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I heard the texture of Monk was comparable to a lobster tail?
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