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7 Ways to Cook Fish and Seafood

Whether you’re craving clams or hungry for halibut, there’s an easy way to prepare fish and seafood to perfection. 

We’ve collected 7 of our favorite methods below, but before we get started, here’s how to tell if your fish or seafood is cooked. Fish is ready when you can flake it easily with a fork; shrimp and shellfish are done when they are opaque in color.

Read on for more tips and tricks plus recipes.

Bake it

Best For: fish fillets

Baking or roasting fish is an easy, hands-off method, especially good if you have a crowd to feed. As with any fish cooking technique, follow the recipe to avoid overcooking.

Wrap it up

Best For: any fish fillet or shellfish

Cooking fish in foil is one of the most versatile ways to prepare fish, resulting in moist, flavor-packed dishes. And because you can load up on tasty ingredients, like herbs, citrus and spices, it’s a great way to cut back on fat and sodium without sacrificing flavor. Plus, cleanup is a breeze.

Poach it

Best for: any fish fillet or shellfish

Poaching simply means gently cooking the fish in liquid, such as water, broth, beer, or wine. It adds subtle flavor without drying out the fillets or adding any extra fat. To poach, simply cover the fish or seafood with liquid and bring to a simmer, just don’t let the liquid boil. You’ll only need a few minutes for your fish or seafood to be ready. Bonus: You can use the poaching liquid as a base for a sauce when you’re done.

Broil it

Best for: thick and meaty fish fillets, shrimp, lobster tails

This method is especially good when you want to quickly bake fish and seafood. This is also a good method when you don’t have access to a grill or you’re adding a glaze. To make sure it doesn’t cook or brown too quickly, cook the fish at least 6 inches away from the broiler and watch carefully.

Steam it

Best for: clams and mussels

The traditional cooking method for clams and mussels, steaming is an easy way to add delicate flavor quickly without overcooking. Just add the seafood to a lidded saucepan with a little liquid like beer, wine, or broth, cover, and bring to a simmer until the shells open (discard any that don’t open). You can also steam lobster, but it’s worth checking to see if your store’s fish department will steam lobsters for you.

Sear it

Best for: scallops, shrimp, and fish fillets

Use this cooking method for fish with a crisp, browned crust and a tender interior. Use a non-stick pan if possible and add a little oil before adding your fish—in batches if necessary—don’t crowd the pan. Cook without stirring or turning for 2-3 minutes to brown the fish and crisp up any breading.

Grill it

Best For: any fish fillet or shellfish

Once grilling season rolls around, don’t forget to add fish, shrimp, and even clams and mussels to your summer menus. Fish fillets take well to grilling and are easy to flip. Use a grilling basket for anything that might slip through the grate. And don’t forget skewers, which are the perfect way to grill shrimp.

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