Preparing fish and seafood can be a tough task, especially if you don’t know the best way to prepare your fish or shellfish. We’re here to help you find out what are the cooking techniques for fish and shellfish that you can do in your home. We’ll share with you some tips and techniques on cooking fish, shellfish, and other types of seafood out there.
Signs of Fresh Fish and Shellfish
Before we share with you what are the cooking techniques for fish and shellfish, here are some tips for choosing fresh fish and shellfish for your dish:
The first thing to check when you buy a fish is the smell. Bad smells mean it’s not fresh and might be starting to decompose. The next is the eyes. It should be clear and bulging. Cloudy eyes can mean it is not a fresh catch. Check out the scales if it looks shiny and metallic, it is still fresh.
You can also touch it to confirm that the meat is still firm and the scales are intact. The last way is to check out the gills, fins, and tails. The fin and tail should be movable. A brittle fin and tail mean it’s old. The gills, on the other hand, should still be bright red.
Other kinds of Seafood
Each kind of seafood has its own signs of freshness. You can always check the smell of shellfish or other seafood. Much like fish, it should always not smell bad. Here are some personal characteristics of other seafood:
- Scallops are typically shucked after capture. Fresh scallops are usually white and firm in texture. It should have a sweet smell.
- Live crabs and lobsters should exhibit leg movements. The lobster tail should curl under the body, and it should not hang down.
- Shrimp should be firm and have a mild odor. The shell should be translucent to grayish and have no dark edges. Dark edges mean the fish is starting to deteriorate.
- Squid should have full and clear eyes, no torn skin, and very firm meat.
- Shellfish like clams, oysters, or mussels should have moist shells and be tightly closed. If it is a bit opened, ask the store clerk to tap them. If it didn’t close or it cracked, those are old ones.
Different Cooking Techniques for Fish and Shellfish
Cooking fish is one delicate process. The texture of fish meat is different from other meats, so overcooking it would be bad. Fish can be served raw like sushi, sashimi, or tartare. You can also serve it as ceviche, which uses citric acid to “cook” the seafood meat. There are also other ways like salting, curing, and drying the fish. Shellfish cannot be served raw except for oysters. Some restaurants have oyster bars with freshly shucked oysters, and it’s a very tasty treat.
Grilling is one of the easiest ways of cooking fish and other kinds of seafood. It gives your fish a smoky flavor and crisp texture. Meaty fish are perfect for grilling. Some seafood like shrimp, squids, and scallops are also good as grilled dishes.
Pan-seared fish steaks are also a popular fish dish. It is done by cooking each side of the fish at a high temperature until it forms a brown crust. Finish the cooking by the oven to cook the insides thoroughly. Pan-seared fish steaks are popular, but there are also dishes like pan-seared scallops.
Sauteed seafood is a popular dish. Add some oil or butter, saute some onion and garlic then add some herbs, then add your choice of seafood. This is a great way of cooking seafood since it adds a lot of flavor and texture to the fish. Sauteed mussels, shrimp, and fish are some of the most popular sauteed seafood dishes.
This cooking technique can be done by coating the fish with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs. This coating will give you that crispy texture. You can also do this with shrimp, clams, oysters, and scallops. The most popular deep-fried fish dish is fish and chips, deep-fried fish dipped in batter with potato fries on the side. There’s also tempura in Japanese, deep-fried shrimp, and Calamari in various cuisine, fried squid rings.
Boiling is a very popular way of cooking shellfish, especially in the Midwest. Add some herbs, vegetables, spices, corn, potatoes, and carrots. It’s a whole meal in one large pot. Crawfish, shrimp, lobsters, and clams are commonly used in these dishes.
If you are thinking what are the cooking techniques for fish and shellfish that you can do without too much of a hassle, try baking your fish and shellfish. Add some spices and herbs to your fish before you bake them for that added flavor and aroma. Baked salmon is a popular baked fish dish. You can also bake shellfish like baked mussels, usually topped with cheese.
When someone asks me, “what are the cooking techniques for fish and shellfish that’s very healthy?”, I always answer steam cooking is one of the healthiest ways to cooking fish and shellfish. Steamed fish and shellfish usually require the highest quality of ingredients since the taste will depend mostly on the fish itself. Other seafood like crabs, shrimp, and lobsters also can be cooked in steam to release their natural flavor. Get more cooking techniques here.
There are lots of other different ways to cook your fish and shellfish. We shared with you what are the cooking techniques for fish and shellfish that we think you can try out with your family. You can try out other ways and experiment in cooking your seafood as long as it’s properly prepared to avoid problems. Hopefully, this article helped you in choosing the best technique to use in cooking your fish and shellfish.