Do you shy away from buying fish because you don’t know how many minutes you’re supposed to cook it?
I run into so many people who tell me when they cook fish, it’s tough and dry. So I ask, “How long do you cook it?”
Would it surprise you that a lot of people respond, “About twenty minutes?”
The best tip to live by to cook fish properly is the ten-minute tip, meaning cook your fresh fish 10 minutes per inch at its thickest point. Total cooking time. That’s it.
Smaller pieces need less cooking time, so it’s important to portion your fillets equally before cooking for more accuracy. Cut the pieces as evenly as possible, so whether you’re cooking stove top, in the oven, grilling, frying or poaching, you can remove the smaller pieces first so they don’t dry out and get tough. (Or use those smaller pieces for a fish chowder the next day.)
Keep your cooked fish on a warm platter or cover it lightly with foil, if you’re cooking for a crowd. And remember, fish will continue to cook a little once it’s removed from the heat source.
Another way to tell if your fish is done?
Press lightly on the surface of the fish. Your fingers should feel a little resistance. Or insert a thermometer into the thickest point of the fish, if the tip feels warm, the fish is cooked.
To complicate things, (yep, I know, complicated sucks), each species is different, and depending on your cooking method, cooking times vary. For instance, a flounder fillet take mere minutes. Or get this, last night, I pan-seared a one-inch wild salmon portion for a minute and a half, turned it over and finished it in a 385 degree oven for six minutes. Now that’s only seven and a half minutes, but I like my salmon cooked medium.
Generally though, most fish species need very little cooking time. So have your salad ready, sides cooked, table set, candles lit and wine poured. Or crack open a cold beer, pour a tall, sweet tea or crush some ice for a neat bourbon, or…okay, you get the picture.
Use your kitchen timer. You might be surprised how quickly ten minutes passes.Got a fish cooking question? or a fish cooking tip you’d like to share?
I’m a flat-out, irrefutable seafood geek, writer and cook. And when I’m not, I take naps. I help people make better choices with all things seafood-related. Are you hungry for more articles about sustainable seafood, ocean conservation and the environment? Or maybe you can’t wait to read more about my upcoming book EATING SALMON? Sign up now to have my posts delivered directly to your inbox. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.