Technique 1: The Bake
Baking is simple, foolproof, and mess-free. It’s also easy to bake large quantities at once, it doesn’t stink up the kitchen, and it’s healthy because little extra fat is needed. Plus, pretty much any fish can be baked.
Start with the instructions below to bake: a) salmon with lemon and dill; b) branzino with lime and basil; or c) rainbow trout with orange and oregano.
Instructions: Gently toss a pound of fish fillets with 2 tbsp each of olive oil, fresh citrus juice, and any minced herb. Salt and pepper to taste. Wrap fillets in parchment paper (folding edges so it doesn’t leak), or place in a tightly covered baking dish. Bake in a 400°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes (denser fish and thicker fillets will take longer), or until it breaks apart easily with a fork. Don’t stress about overcooking—sealing in the juices like this keeps it moist.
Technique 2: The poach
Poaching is one of the healthiest ways to cook fish and also keeps it from drying out or stinking up the kitchen. Poached fish can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. Best fish for poaching: salmon, Arctic char, halibut, trout, cod, hake, and snapper.
Instructions: Place fillets in a wide saucepan with enough vegetable or chicken stock to cover them (or you can make a quick poaching liquid by boiling water with some carrot, celery, onion, herbs, salt, and a splash of white wine, then straining). Remove the fish and heat the liquid over low heat until it’s steaming but not bubbling. Return the fish to the pan in a single layer and cook until it flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. Poaching is very forgiving, so don’t stress.
Technique 3: The grill
Grilling is super-healthy and results in a concentrated fish flavor that is ideal for whole fish or skin-on fillets and steaks; firmer fish, like tuna, striped bass, salmon, mahi mahi, and snapper work best—just be sure all are of the same thickness, for even cooking.
Instructions: Make sure the grill grates are clean, well-oiled, and blazing hot. Pat fish dry, then lightly oil the skin. Gently place the fish on the grill and let sit—don’t nudge, or it’ll stick—for about three minutes (check after two minutes to see if it’s sticking), then flip and cook, with the grill covered, another three minutes. If you’re worried about it sticking, use a grill screen, a grill fish basket, or a layer of foil.