If you’re watching your health, choosing fish over red meat for your dinner is a smart move – until it’s breaded and deep-fried or drenched in butter. Your cooking method matters. Picking the healthiest fish from the best seafood market in town is useless if you cook it the unhealthy way.
For the healthiest seafood preparation, the objective is clear: Limit fat, sodium, and sugar, and add healthy ingredients to boost its nutritional value.
Want to savor your favorite seafood dishes without the guilt? Check out these 8 techniques for cooking fish and seafood the healthy way while still offering the taste you desire.
Grilling is a type of direct and dry heat cooking method that gives fish a charred, caramelized flavor.
Lightly brush the fish with healthy cooking oil, like extra-virgin olive oil, to keep it from sticking. Keep a close watch, as fish only takes 4 to 6 minutes per side to cook. Flip over when you see light grill marks forming.
Thicker cuts of fish steak with natural oils, like halibut, tuna, salmon, and swordfish, are perfect candidates for grilling. If you want to infuse smoky flavor, grill your fish on a wooden plank (cedar, maple, or hickory) for about 20 minutes.
Broiling is another direct-heat cooking method. Unlike grilling, the heat comes from the top, exposing the fish to direct heat in the oven broiler. It gives fish a lovely browned exterior with the convenience of a temperature-controlled heat source. It’s a fast, simple, and fuss-free preparation with tasty results.
Oil-rich fish options, like salmon, tuna, sea bass, and mackerel, are top choices for broiling. Leaner types of fish should be marinated prior to broiling.
Poaching refers to cooking your fish in a simmering liquid. Choosing a healthy yet tasty liquid for poaching is the key. You may poach fish in fish or vegetable stock, milk, wine, or water seasoned with garlic, onion, and aromatic herbs and spices.
Commonly poached fish fillets include yellowfin tuna, Pacific halibut, and lake trout. To cook, bring the stock to a simmer, not boil. Simmer the fish for about 10 minutes until the center is opaque, then remove from the pan with a slotted ladle or spatula. Serve it with vegetables and a dressing or sauce of your choice.
Steaming is another gentle cooking method that uses liquids during the cooking process. While poaching involves submerging fish, steaming uses hot, vaporized water to cook fish in a steamer. It produces a succulent, mild-tasting fish that’s often paired with a flavorful sauce.
Compared to other cooking methods, steaming and poaching are considered the healthiest. Firstly, both methods don’t require oil, which would otherwise add fats and calories to your dish. Lastly, they use lower temperatures and quick cooking time (approximately 10 minutes), which help preserve the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in fish.
Baking is another dry heat technique that uses an oven to cook fish. It gives you that nice, satisfying crunch of fried fish minus all the excess fat. Unlike frying, baking fish helps retain omega-3 fatty acids and its vitamin D content.
Just make sure to watch the amount of oil, mayonnaise, or cheese called for the recipe.
6. Cooking with vegetables
Vegetables can definitely make your dull plate of fish colorful and more nutritious.
All vegetables are good for your health, but some just stand out from the rest in terms of their nutrition profile. The healthiest veggies on the planet include spinach, kale, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green peas, asparagus, garlic, and ginger.
7. Drizzling healthy oils
Let’s be honest: butter and seafood are just a match made in heaven. Who can’t resist our favorite Garlic Butter Shrimp? The bad news is butter is a dairy product with high butterfat content.
Cooking fish in oil isn’t always bad. If you’re planning to use fats to add flavor to your seafood dishes, switch to healthier oils.
Whether it’s for stir-frying or drizzling onto salads, nutrition and cooking experts agree that olive oil is the healthiest oil to cook with. Other healthy oils include canola, corn, sesame, sunflower, grapeseed, avocado, peanut, and soybean oil.
8. Enjoying it as a soup, stew, or chowder
Looking for a healthy dish that’s full of flavor? There’s nothing more fulfilling than a warm and hearty bowl of soup, chowder, or stew, featuring your favorite fish or seafood. Soups and chowders made with clear broth are your best bet. If you love the creamy texture, opt for low-calorie recipes that use low-fat milk, creams, and oils. Don’t forget to add vegetables.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is a passionate daytime writer for Manettas Seafood Market, an online and interactive seafood hub which provides customers a true, first-class fish market experience without leaving home. Since she’s a seafood lover herself, she’s got a lot to say about food, well-being, and lifestyle.