You love to cook seafood, but for some reason, it just always turns out…not great. Don’t despair! It doesn’t have to be this way.
You may just be making one (or more than one…) of the following common mistakes of cooking seafood at home. Making these small changes will help you enjoy the cooking experience more and produce better meals — win, win.
Mistake #1: You aren’t getting your cooking surface hot enough
If you have issues with your fish sticking to the pan, it might be because you aren’t getting it hot enough. Turn the stove on to medium-high heat and allow your pan to heat up for at least a few minutes. By getting the pan searing hot, your fish with crisp up before bonding with the hot metal and be easier to flip.
Mistake #2: You’re cooking it for too long
Just like other meats, seafood becomes tough and loses flavor when it’s overcooked. For shrimp, watch the shape. When it curls into a “C” shape, it’s perfectly done, but an “O” shape means it’s overcooked. For fish, follow the inch rule: cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, flipping halfway through.
Mistake #3: You’re not buying the best quality
Quality matters in everything you eat, but the difference in quality between farm-raised and wild-caught seafood is substantial in both taste and nutritional benefits. By buying sustainably sourced seafood, you already give yourself a leg up on deliciousness.
Mistake #4: Taking the skin off before cooking
Most fish, like salmon, cook better when the skin is left on and removed after cooking. This also makes the skin easier to remove once it has crisped up. For pan frying, start out cooking skin side down.
Mistake #5: You’re marinating improperly
Fish is delicate and leaving it in the marinade for too long can actually lead it to “cook” slightly, especially if you’re using an acidic marinade. Marinating for too long can also lead to soggy fish or an imbalance of flavors as the liquids are absorbed and the salt and seasonings are left on the surface. Instead, keep your marinades subtle and minimize salt usage. A little olive oil, lemon and herbs go a long way, especially with white fish.
Remember, practice makes perfect! By learning from your mistakes, you can become a master seafood chef in no time.