Do you have a "sure fire" fresh fish recipe for a someone who has never cooked fish?

We just moved to the east coast where fresh, from the sea, fish is in abundance. I have never cooked fish (other than from frozen box style). I have friends, from away, coming for the weekend and I want to cook them a fish dinner. The only requirement is that the fish does not taste "fishy" or be heavy with batter. And I wouldn't mind some tips on how to buy fresh fish too.

  • Posted by: Currli
  • May 21, 2012


Even easier I think, is to get a whole fish (your fishmonger will clean it for you). Stuff the cavity with a couple slices of lemon and/or orange,salt and pepper, and a couple sprigs of your herb of choice (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, etc). Place in a roasting pan (or you can do it on a grill but it takes more patience and watching). Drizzle with some olive oil and roast at 375 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until it looks done. Don't worry about fancy filleting and presentation, we usually just attack the fish directly on the table.
Oh, and if you buy a whole fish, look for clear (not cloudy) eyes and I generally think the body should look somewhat firm--when they sit around a bit, I tend to think they start looking a little soft.
kbckitchen May 21, 2012
My favorite is to lightly blacken using any commercial blackening seasoning. I use an iron skillet with a little butter medium high heat. Grouper mahi mahi etc
Reiney May 21, 2012
I'm from Iowa and now on the west coast so I know exactly where you're coming from!

I was going to suggest en papillote like Pierino - create a foil or parchment package and put in some nice aromatics (fresh herbs, citrus) and a sauce (mix garlic/dijon/white wine, or go Thai-style?). The cooking time will depend on the type of fish. Perhaps experiment before your guests come?

You can also buy a more "forgiving" fish - with an oilier texture, it will take a bit of overcooking and still be ok. Chilean sea bass, mackerel, sardines, trout, etc. There are also fish that are best rare to medium, like salmon or tuna.
pierino May 21, 2012
Actually I must politely disagree on chilean sea bass. First it's not a fresh caught East Coast fish, it comes from Chile where it used to be known as Patagonian toothfish---well, given a fancy marketing name and what happens, now the fishery is almost destroyed. But the East Coast has plenty of great choices that don't have to travel thousands of miles to get to your kitchen.
Reiney May 21, 2012
Very true, Pierino and completely agree. An attempt to come up with examples of forgiving fish!
pierino May 21, 2012
In addition, buy your fish from a serious fish market. The fish should smell like the ocean (as should the whole damn fish counter). If you get an ammonia smell, well that's what happens with fish well past its peak.
allans May 21, 2012
I agree with Jestei. I am not one to cook a lot of fish, and this is the only method I use. It never fails to turn out, just keep your eyes on it!
pierino May 21, 2012
It really depends on the type of fish, what's coming in fresh off the boats. Are you cooking sole, or striped bass, or monkfish? it makes a big difference. I always cook fish either in a pan on the cooktop or outside on the grill. The only time I use the oven is to poach in a fume or else individual portions in their own packages (en papillote). But it's difficult to answer the question without knowing what your fish options are.

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Jestei May 21, 2012
I think the best and easiest way to cook fish is to roast it at a high temp and make a sauce for it on the stove. the key is to watch like a hawk that you don't overcook it. get a really lovely piece of salmon, drizzle with some olive oil and salt and roast at 425, checking over two minutes. depending in thickness it could be done as soon as 4 min. Read improvisations on this easy recipe here:
Currli May 22, 2012
Thanks for the suggestion Jestei. I actually printed this recipe with the intention of trying it "someday". Well ... I think I found the occasion to get my culinary "feet wet". Can hardly wait to try this recipe out so of course I will give it a trial run before our friends arrive.
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