Never Cooked Fresh Fish Before?

Grilled Salmon on Mango Salsa with Fresh Veggies

There are two main categories of fish, lean fish and fat fish.  Fat fish are still very good for you, in fact they carry a lot of those good “healthy” fats that are one of the big reasons to eat fish.  Both fat fish and lean fish are easy to cook, and many of them are interchangeable in recipes. 

Lean fish have a fat content of less than five percent.  As a result, they don't last more than six months in the freezer.  They tend to be lighter fleshed and milder.  Lean fish include flounder, tilapia, cod, striped bass, trout, cod, black drum, perch, halibut, grouper, sole, haddock, and more.

Fat fish include Chilean sea bass, salmon, tuna, and more.  They have an oil content of more than five percent, which makes the flesh darker than that of lean fish, and also reduces the time they stay good in the freezer to three months or less.  

Lean and fat fish can be used interchangeably in many recipes, with a few caveats.  Fat fish  tend to have a stronger, more fishy flavor than lean fish, which may be overwhelming in a recipe meant for lean fish. Similarly, lean fish may disappear into the background of a recipe meant originally for fat fish.  Also, lean fish may require more attention than their fat fish equivalent to keep them from drying out.  Lean fish hold up better in a soup or chowder environment as their flesh is firmer than that of the fat fish. 

Fish should be defrosted in the refrigerator, or under running water, not out on the countertop. Seafood in general requires roughly 10 minutes per inch of thickness to cook.  For blackened or seared fish for example, that would be five minutes on each side for a one-inch fish steak.  If the fish is being cooked in paper or foil, or in a sauce, 5 minutes should be added to that cook time. 



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