February is heart month. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week to protect your heart. If you like fish, this isn’t difficult. However, serving fish twice a week to my family, who doesn’t care for the taste of fish, requires some creativity in the kitchen. Here are some tips for others in the same boat. (No pun intended.)
Choose a milder tasting fish for your recipes. These include cod, flounder, haddock, orange roughy, ocean perch, Alaskan Pollock, and tilapia. Even mild tasting fish will taste fishy if it’s not fresh. Examine the fish counter and make sure the fresh seafood is properly iced, well refrigerated, in clean display cases, and displayed on a thick bed of ice that is not melting. When you buy frozen fish, ice on the fish or inside of the packaging is an indication that the fish has been stored too long.
Soak fish before cooking. The soaking process will help remove some of the oil and strong fish flavor. Soaking fish in milk yields a very mild flavor. You can also soak fish in water with lemon added. Here’s how to soak fish. Rinse the fish (either a fillet or whole fish) under cold water. Place the fish in a container with a tight fitting lid or zip lock bag and pour enough milk over it to completely cover the fish. Place the fish in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to one hour. Remove the fish from the milk, give it another quick rinse under cold water and pat dry. The fish will taste “less fishy” in whatever recipe you’re using.
Season it well. Several, herbs, spices and other seasonings pair well with fish. Lemon is an all-purpose ingredient for cooking fish. You can also rub lemon on your hands before handling fish to help the fish smell from staying on your hands. Other spices and herbs to try include rosemary, thyme, dill, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, garlic and ginger. Lightly brush the fish with olive or canola oil before sprinkling on the seasoning before baking.
To keep fish healthy baking is recommended which is very simple to do. Just place seasoned fish in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Bake at 450 degrees in a preheated oven for 4-6 minutes per ½- inch thickness of fish. The fish is done as soon as it begins to flake. The fish juices will be milky white.
Use this recipe and cook fish in a foil pouch. The easy clean up and quick cooking time is an added incentive to cook fish more often!
Fish Fillets in a Pouch 1 serving
1 cod fillet (5 oz)
2 Tbsp onion, diced
2 Tbsp green pepper, diced
½ tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Place cod fillet in center of 12x12-inch square of aluminum foil. Arrange onion and green pepper on top of cod. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fold the foil into a tight packet. Bake at 450 degrees according to fillet thickness. (4-6 minutes per ½ - inch thickness.)