Seafood 101 - The Basics
Cooking seafood is fast, and best of all it's easy.
These simple techniques will open up a world of seafood flavor. Just follow the 3 easy steps and these helpful tips
Broiling, Steaming, Baking, Sauteeing, Poaching, Stir-Frying, Grilling
HOW TO BROIL SEAFOOD
We recommends these types of seafood for broiling:
Fillets or steaks 1/4" to 1-1/2" thick, shrimp, scallops, squid (preferably skewered)
Broiled Seafood is cooked in the oven, directly under the heating element. Preheat the broiler before putting the seafood in the oven. Place the rack 3-4 inches from the element. Broiling cooks seafood quickly, but be careful to keep it moist during cooking so that it does not dry out. Try marinating more delicate fish (those with less natural oil) to keep it moist during cooking. Fish with a higher fat content, like salmon, sea bass, bluefish, tuna, shark and swordfish are all good choices for broiling.
- Lightly season with salt and pepper, or prepare a marinade. Add the seafood to the marinade, turn gently to coat the seafood evenly. Marinate the seafood in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours.
- Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil and lightly oil. Remove the seafood from the marinade and place it in a single layer on the broiler pan.
- Broil the seafood for half of the total cooking time. Turn and baste occasionally with the marinade to keep the seafood moist. Continue broiling until the seafood is cooked in the center. Cooked seafood turns from translucent to opaque in the center when done.
HOW TO STEAM SEAFOOD
We recommends these Seafoods for steaming:
Fish fillets or steaks, shellfish, whole fish.
Steamed seafood is prepared by placing a rack over boiling water in a covered pan. No added fat is needed for a great health-wise choice. For a complete dinner in minutes, steam vegetables beside the seafood.
- Arrange the seafood in a steamer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring the water to a boil in the steamer, add the seafood on the rack (be careful that the seafood does not touch the water) and cover tightly with the lid.
- Steam the seafood until it is cooked in the center. Cooked seafood turns from translucent to opaque in the center when done.
HOW TO BAKE SEAFOOD
We recommends these Seafoods for baking:
Fish fillets or steaks, shellfish, whole fish.
Baking is a method for cooking seafood quickly at a high temperature.
Bake in a preheated oven at 450oF. Measure the fish at the thickest part, and cook for 10 minutes per inch thickness, or until the fish is cooked in the center. Cooked seafood turns from translucent to opaque when done.
Baking actually requires very little or no added fat, another ideal choice for healthy eaters. Easy ways to keep the seafood moist during cooking include coating with seasoned breadcrumbs, lightly brushing with olive oil or melted butter, or topping with thinly sliced vegetables.
- Preheat the oven. Arrange the seafood in a single layer in a lightly oiled or buttered baking dish. If cooking fillets, fold under the thin ends so that they will cook evenly.
- Season the seafood or add a coating or topping
- Bake the seafood until it is cooked in the center. Cooked seafood turns from translucent to opaque in the center when cooked. Spoon any remaining cooking juices over the seafood.
HOW TO SAUTE SEAFOOD
Clearwater recommends these Seafoods For Sautéeing:
Fish fillets under 1-1/2" thick, shucked oysters, large shrimp, scallops.
Sautéing, or pan frying is somewhat similar to stir-frying. Sautéed seafoods are cooked over medium heat. The seafood is browned on one side, and is then turned over to finish cooking on the other side. Try lightly coating the seafood with flour, fine cornmeal, breadcrumbs or finely chopped nuts for a crisp outside and tender inside. Try using a skillet with a non-stick surface to avoid using a lot of fat for cooking.
- Carefully pat the seafood dry to keep any splattering during cooking to a minimum. If desired, lightly dust with a coating of your choice.
- Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the seafood and cook until browned.
- Turn the seafood and continue cooking until well browned and opaque through the thickest part. A good rule of thumb is to cook the seafood 10 minutes per inch thickness.
HOW TO POACH SEAFOOD
We recommends these Seafoods for Poaching:
Scallops, shrimp, shucked oysters, whole fish, fish fillets and steaks.
Poached seafoods are prepared by carefully placing seafood in hot liquid, resulting in highly flavored food with no added fat. Choose your favorite – simply water, or combine the water with seasonings, herbs, fish stock or wine.
Use a broad and shallow pan that fits the amount of seafood you plan to cook in an even layer. Be careful not to boil the water!
- Place enough water (or other liquid according to your taste) and seasonings in a broad, shallow pan, to completely cover the seafood.
- Bring the liquid to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat so that you see some movement across the surface, but no bubbles actually break the surface. Add the seafood. Do not cover.
- Poach until the seafood is cooked in the center.
HOW TO STIR-FRY SEAFOOD
We recommends these Seafoods for stir-frying:
Shrimp, scallops, squid. Cubes or strips of firm fish (halibut, monkfish, salmon, swordfish, tuna, shark).
Stir frying cooks small pieces of food in a pan over high heat. Because the food cooks very quickly, don't forget to stir constantly to cook evenly and avoid sticking. Avoid stir frying delicate fish, because it will fall apart during cooking. Also avoid overcrowding the pan, or the food will release liquid and poach rather than fry; cooking in batches alleviates this. Either a wok or a large skillet is ideal.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. If using vegetables, add them first and cook very quickly, stirring constantly. When vegetables are tender-crisp, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- If necessary, add more oil to the pan and reheat. Add the seafood (if necessary, cut in evenly sized pieces) and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and opaque in the center.
- Return the vegetables to the pan, add any sauce or seasoning and toss to evenly mix. A meal in minutes!
HOW TO GRILL FISH
We recommends these seafoods for grilling:
Cod, salmon, shrimp, lobster, scallops, mussels.
Grilling is a fun, low fat way of cooking with heat and direct contact. Because most fish contain relatively little fat, marinating or brushing lightly with oil before placing on a grill is also recommended. This maintains moisture inside the seafood and prevents it from sticking to the grill.
To keep the fish from sticking to the grill, oil the grate before adding the fish.
Fish Steaks: Marinate the steaks, or lightly brush with oil. Place directly on the grill and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked. Fish is cooked when it turns from translucent to opaque in the center.
Fish Fillets: Fish fillets are more fragile than steaks. To prevent them from falling apart during cooking, the should be carefully cooked in a grilling rack or in foil. Fillets with the skin left on one side can be cooked directly on the grill.
Lightly oil the grill and fish. Cook until done, basting frequently.
Cooking Time: Measure the fish at the thickest part. Be sure to include the stuffing or rolling. Cook for 10 minutes per inch thick.
Fish Fillets and steaks can be marinated prior to cooking. Fillets with skin should be cooked skin side down to deep the flesh form drying out. Steaks and fillets can be cooked directly on the grill; lightly oil the grate before adding the fish.
Thin or delicate pieces can be cooked on foil set on the grill, or wrapped in foil, lettuce leaves or corn husks before cooking.
Smaller seafood can also be cooked on racks to prevent them from falling through the grill during cooking.
Try threading scallops or shrimp on skewers, alternating with vegetables, for a fun appetizer. Cook 2 – 3 minutes, basting occasionally. Turn over and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until done. Scallops are done when they turn from translucent to opaque in the center.
Mussels In The Shell: Lay the shells directly on the grill. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until the shells open wide. Throw away any whose shells do not open. Be very careful when removing the shells from the grill. The liquid that you will find inside is scalding.
Frozen seafood should be thawed before grilling, so that the oil, marinades, or spices will be absorbed.