5 ways to cook fresh fish

Discover five tried-and-tested ways to cook fish – and recipes for each method.

5 ways to cook fresh fish
  1. Poaching 
    This produces meltingly tender results. You can poach fish in a classic court-bouillon, or in olive/rapeseed oil flavoured with fennel seeds, garlic and shallots. Bring the cooking liquor up to a gentle simmer, lower in the fish and remove from the heat. The fish will continue poaching in the hot liquor, and will be ready when the flesh is opaque.

    More poached fish recipes:
    Poached trout, beetroot and new potato salad
    Fish stew
    Smoked haddock and sweetcorn chowder

  2. Grilling 
    Best for small fillets of fish such as mackerel and sardines, this method produces a nice, crisp skin. Brush the fillets with olive oil, perhaps adding lemon juice and herbs, and rub the skin with salt. Lay on an oiled baking sheet, skin-side up, and grill for 4-5 minutes until the skin is crisp. Rest for 2 minutes, then push the tip of a sharp knife into the flesh – if it goes through easily, the fish is done.

    More grilled fish recipes:
    Tandoori salmon steaks
    Grilled Dover sole with lime, coconut and avocado relish
    Breaded harissa cod with lemon and red onion couscous

  3. Pan-frying 
    This is a quick method for cooking fillets of fish. Use a heavy-based frying pan, preferably non-stick. If you don’t have one, it is best to dust the fish with seasoned flour to prevent it from sticking. Make sure your pan is hot, so that you get a good, crisp skin. Fry skin-side down for most of the cooking time, then flip it over for the final 30 seconds to finish.

    More pan-fried fish recipes:
    Quick harissa salmon with giant couscous
    Pan-fried sea trout with watercress
    Fish burgers

  4. Currying 
    This is a great way to cook fish that is not fresh from the boat that day, or to use up different cuts of fish or shellfish. Fish, unlike meat, doesn’t need slow cooking. Drop the fish pieces into a gently simmering curry sauce. Put the largest pieces of fish in first, 1-2 minutes before the smaller pieces. As a rough guide, it takes around 5 minutes for a 100g piece of fish to cook through, whereas a 450g whole fish would take 15 minutes.

    More curried fish recipes:
    Spinach, tomato, prawn and tomato curry
    Thai yellow fish curry
    Kipper kedgeree

  5. Roasting 
    To achieve crisp skin and succulent flesh, you should roast fish in a hot, preheated oven. It can be difficult to gauge the time needed as the weights of fish vary widely, especially with whole fish, but a 500g fish such as john dory will take about 8 minutes. Test if it is cooked in the same way as you would for grilled fish (left).


    More roast fish recipes:
    One-pan rosemary roast salmon
    Roast spiced cod
    One-pan roast haddock



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