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6 Ridiculously Easy Techniques To Cook Fish At Home

Who knew cooking fish at home could be so easy?

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Cooking fish can be intimidating. It's delicate, easy to overcook, and always seems to stick to the pan. But what if I told you preparing it at home could be just as easy as cooking chicken?

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With these six techniques, you can cook any type of fish with ease. So...let's get cooking!

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1. Pan-sear your fish:

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Difficulty level: Easy.

Best for: Skin-on fillets, like salmon, branzino, and mackerel.

Here's how to do it: Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place a seasoned fillet in the hot skillet (skin-side down, if applicable) and wait until the opaque color reaches two-thirds of the way up. Flip the fillet and continue cooking until completely opaque, about 2 to 4 minutes longer, depending on size.

Pro tip: If you're using a skin-on fillet, cut a few slits into the skin before searing it (aka scoring). This will prevent the edges from curling and achieve a crispy skin. See how to do it here.

Put the Technique to Use: Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi With Honey-Lime Coleslaw

This recipe coats mahi mahi in a flavorful blend of brown sugar and spices before pan-searing it. Get the recipe here.

2. Bake your fish:

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Difficulty level: Easy.

Best for: Large, oily fillets such as salmon and whole sides of fish.

Here's how to do it: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Season your fillet with whatever seasonings you want (salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, herbs, etc.) and place it on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake for 8 minutes per inch of thickness (10–12 minutes for most fillets; longer for whole sides).

Pro tip: This method is great for meal prepping. Roast vegetables with a whole side of salmon for several days' worth of healthy lunches.

Put the Technique to Use: Baked Teriyaki Salmon and Vegetables

This recipe cooks veggies and salmon on the same sheet tray, making it perfect for meal prepping. Get the recipe here.

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3. Grill your fish:

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Difficulty level: Takes some practice.

Best for: Meaty fish that won't fall apart, like swordfish, halibut, tuna, and salmon.

Here's how to do it: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Season your fillet and place it on the hot grill. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping halfway through cooking.

Pro tip: To prevent sticking, make sure your grill is clean and well-oiled. For extra insurance (and flavor), cook your fillet directly on top of a few slices of lemon. See how to to do it here.

Put the Technique to Use: Grilled Swordfish Steaks With Lemon-Oregano Marinade

These swordfish steaks are marinated in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and thyme before hitting the grill. Get the recipe here.

4. Broil your fish:

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Difficulty level: Easy.

Best for: Oily fish, like salmon and tuna, that won't dry out under high heat.

Here's how to do it: Preheat your broiler to high. Season and oil your fillet, or brush it with your sauce of choice. Place fillet in a pan 2 inches below broiler and cook for 5 minutes per inch of thickness.

Pro Tip: This technique is great for recipes that have sweet sauces like teriyaki and barbecue. The high heat caramelizes the sugars, creating a wonderful charred flavor.

Put the Technique to Use: Maple-Crusted Salmon

These salmon fillets are seasoned with brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, and maple syrup before broiling for a beautiful caramelized crust. Get the recipe here.

5. Cook your fish in parchment paper:

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Difficulty level: Easy.

Best for: Any skinless fillets (and not stinking up your apartment).

Here's how to do it: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Fold a piece of parchment paper in half, then open it back up. Lay your fillet on one side and season with whatever seasonings you want. Fold the parchment paper over the fillet and crimp it closed. Cook for 13 minutes per inch of thickness.

Pro Tip: Try adding aromatic ingredients such as ginger, garlic, lemongrass, or herbs to your packet. The pouch steams the aromatics and infuses the fish with a ton of flavor.

Put the Technique to Use: Mediterranean Cod en Papillote

This parchment packet is filled with all kinds of aromatic ingredients that make this cod both vibrant and delicious. Get the recipe here.

6. Poach your fish:

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Difficulty level: Takes some practice.

Best for: Thicker fillets (such as salmon and halibut) that won't fall apart.

Here's how to do it: Fill a pan with water and bring it to a simmer. Add seasonings like lemon, black pepper, and salt. Add fillet, cover with lid, and reduce heat to low. Cook until fish is completely opaque and has no resistance when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.

Pro tip: Try poaching in broth, wine, and other flavorful liquids to add flavor to your fish.

Put the Technique to Use: Poached Salmon With Mustard Dill Sauce

This recipe uses a variation of the above method by shallow poaching salmon, meaning the liquid doesn't completely cover the fillets. Get the recipe here.

So there you have it: Cooking fish doesn't have to be intimidating. Stop the chicken routine and start cooking fish at home today!

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