Nutrition Recipes

4 Tips to Learn How to Cook Seafood

You know fish is good for you; here’s how to build more meals with it

Two Fish Recipes For Beginners 

 

Just one in 10 Americans meet the recommendation of eating two servings of seafood per week, a recent survey says. Those that fall short miss out on a host of nutrients, including vital omega-3 fats, lean protein, B-vitamins, selenium and iron and health benefits such as a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease and an 80-90 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death. Beyond helping your heart, a seafood-rich diet has also been linked to lower risk for depression, improved memory and cognition in adults and improved eye and brain development in children.  

If, despite your best intentions, you don’t regularly eat fish or shellfish due to a lack of knowledge when selecting, handling, flavoring and cooking, there’s good news—starting a seafood habit is easier than you think! Here are some simple tips to boost confidence and ease your sea of fears around incorporating more heart-smart seafood on your plate. And if you happen to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, or decided to become a pescatarian, there’s no better time to start. 

 

Start with the Basics 

If new to eating seafood, don’t be afraid to start with the basics like recipe-ready canned or pouch-packed tuna or salmon. With no need to cook it and little additional flavoring required, you can easily incorporate these foolproof options into meals. Stir canned tuna or salmon with a spoonful of hummus, fresh lemon juice and some garlic powder, then scoop it up with crackers or layer it on a wrap with veggies. Seasoned tuna and salmon in pouches take even less guesswork and can be eaten straight from the package, stirred into cooked grains or over mixed greens.

 

Advance to Fresh or Frozen 

Once you’ve conquered the basics, advance to the seafood counter to choose from fresh or frozen options. Keep in mind that there’s more variety in the freezer and it costs less too. 

White fish like tilapia, cod and haddock are a good choice for beginners—adults and kids alike—given their mild flavor and flaky texture. For the greatest omega-3 content, seek out bolder-tasting, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, anchovies and pollock. Shellfish like oysters, crab and mussels are also rich in omega-3s. Try to prioritize these varieties most often to get the most out of your two servings per week. Despite their high cholesterol content, shrimp can easily fit in a heart-smart lifestyle as well. They are low in saturated fat which studies show is more detrimental to one’s LDL, ‘bad’ cholesterol than dietary cholesterol. Just enjoy them without frying and skip the buttery scampi style. 

 

Handle with Care

Proper handling is key to preparing flavorful and safe seafood. After shopping, refrigerate fresh seafood immediately and prepare it within two days. It should never smell fishy or unpleasant. If unable to use it within this timeframe, wrap it tightly in a moisture-proof bag and freeze. Once frozen, the FDA recommends eating seafood within six to eight months to ensure the best quality. Thaw frozen seafood gradually by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. For quicker thawing, seal it in a plastic bag and immerse in cold water, or microwave on the ‘defrost’ setting until the fish is icy, but pliable, and cook immediately. 

 

Ready, Set, Cook

Clocking in at a cook time of around 10 minutes per inch of thickness; seafood hits your plate faster than many other lean proteins. That’s assuming you aren’t making the common mistake of overcooking it. Choose the right cooking method for the species, mind the clock and check the temperature to prevent this error. In general, white fish is best when baked, steamed, poached or pan-fried given its delicate texture. To grill, use a cedar plank (make sure to soak it in warm water for 15 minutes prior to grilling) or wrap in foil. Firm and fatty fish can be prepared using these same methods and stand up to grilling directly on the grill grate. Cook all seafood just until it reaches a temperature of 145°F and flakes easily with a fork to achieve the perfect doneness. 

To enhance the flavor, experiment with an array of seasoning blends, fresh herbs, citrus and homemade marinades and glazes. Adding a crust of crushed nuts, breadcrumbs or coarse panko is an easy way to give fish fillets a pleasing crunch that’s a bit more kid-friendly too. If you’re still feeling stuck, go with the failsafe combo of fresh lemon juice and dill. 

Now that you’re armed with these confidence-boosting tips and two recipes to get started, there are no more excuses for failing to meet the recommendation of seafood twice per week. Get on board with this habit now—your body will thank you.

 

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time25 minsTotal Time40 mins
 Cooking spray
 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
 ½ tsp garlic powder
 ¼ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp black pepper
 2 tbsp pure honey
 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
 1 tbsp soy sauce, less-sodium
 ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
 4 fresh salmon fillets (5 oz.)
1

Preheat oven to 400°F and coat large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2

In large bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange on baking sheet in a single layer and bake 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

3

In small bowl, whisk honey, mustard, soy sauce and crushed red pepper until blended (makes around 1/3 cup).

4

Stir vegetables and push to the sides of the pan, creating a space in the center. Place salmon in center of baking sheet and spoon glaze evenly over each fillet. Bake 20-20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork and reaches 145°F.

5

Serve glazed salmon with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 460
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g39%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 560mg24%
Total Carbohydrate 28g10%
Dietary Fiber 6g24%
Sugars 13g
Protein 34g68%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 Cooking spray
 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
 ½ tsp garlic powder
 ¼ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp black pepper
 2 tbsp pure honey
 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
 1 tbsp soy sauce, less-sodium
 ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
 4 fresh salmon fillets (5 oz.)

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 400°F and coat large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2

In large bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange on baking sheet in a single layer and bake 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

3

In small bowl, whisk honey, mustard, soy sauce and crushed red pepper until blended (makes around 1/3 cup).

4

Stir vegetables and push to the sides of the pan, creating a space in the center. Place salmon in center of baking sheet and spoon glaze evenly over each fillet. Bake 20-20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork and reaches 145°F.

5

Serve glazed salmon with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts.

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

Fish Dippers with Lemon-Chive Dipping Sauce

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time45 mins
 Olive oil cooking spray
 1 lb fresh cod fillets (or other white fish like tilapia, catfish or haddock)
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
 1 tsp garlic
 1 tsp paprika
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tsp ground pepper
Dipping Sauce
 ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt, plain
  cup light olive oil mayo
 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
1

Preheat oven to 425°F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

2

Cut fish into strips about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick. Place flour and beaten eggs into separate medium-sized bowls. In shallow dish, stir panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper to combine.

3

Dredge each fish strip into flour, tapping to remove excess, then into beaten eggs. Gently roll in panko mixture to coat and place onto prepared baking sheet. Coat remaining fish strips until all are breaded.

4

Bake 15 minutes until browned and crisp, turning once during baking.

5

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and chives. Stir and serve with fish dippers.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 380
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g16%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 100mg34%
Sodium 570mg24%
Total Carbohydrate 40g14%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Sugars 2g
Protein 27g54%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 Olive oil cooking spray
 1 lb fresh cod fillets (or other white fish like tilapia, catfish or haddock)
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
 1 tsp garlic
 1 tsp paprika
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tsp ground pepper
Dipping Sauce
 ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt, plain
  cup light olive oil mayo
 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 425°F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

2

Cut fish into strips about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick. Place flour and beaten eggs into separate medium-sized bowls. In shallow dish, stir panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper to combine.

3

Dredge each fish strip into flour, tapping to remove excess, then into beaten eggs. Gently roll in panko mixture to coat and place onto prepared baking sheet. Coat remaining fish strips until all are breaded.

4

Bake 15 minutes until browned and crisp, turning once during baking.

5

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and chives. Stir and serve with fish dippers.

Fish Dippers with Lemon-Chive Dipping Sauce

Recipe Credit: Beth Stark, RDN, LDN  Photo Credit: ViMax Media

–Beth Stark RDN, LDN  

Connect with Beth via Instagram–@BethStarkRDN or LinkedIn