The origin of this proverbial bit of wisdom is not entirely known, but of course rings true:
"Give a man (or anyone) a fish, and you feed (them) for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
So now you got some fish, and you need to cook it! Here are some tips 'n tricks to help you with that little technicality. Julia of course never shied away from the task at hand . . .
Your nose knows. If your fish has "gone upstream" on you it will smell too fishy. Fresh fish should smell like the ocean.
A package of fish should not contain water—could mean it's over the hill. If whole, the eyes should be bright and not cloudy, the skin shiny, not slimy.
Don't let thawed fish sit in the fridge for more than a day or two before cooking.
Best way to thaw frozen fish? In milk. Freshens it up almost like new.
Like many proteins, fish cooks better if you pat it dry first.
Marinate your fish in lemon or lime juice for 10 or 15 minutes before grilling or baking. Keeps it moist and the acid from the fruit gives it a more lively flavor.
Measure your fish to determine cooking time. Each inch of thickness will require about ten minutes using medium-high heat. Never use high heat or you might dry it out.
For fish with skin, always cook skin side down. A rough rule of thumb when pan cooking is 3/4 time skin down, 1/4 time skin up. Never flip more than once. When I bake, I never flip, it's skin side down for the duration.
When baking or roasting, add veggies like broccoli or asparagus to your baking sheet (with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper) and they'll be done at the same time as the fish.
Get flavorful. Cook your fish with wine, lemon, or butter, and/or soak in your favorite marinade for 30 minutes or so before cooking. Top with herb-infused sauces or salsa to finish.
Only turn once.
Always start skin side down.
If your fish smells too fishy, it's probably not the fish for you!
Get flavored up!
Happy fishing, and happy cooking! 🐟 🍣 🦪 🦞 🦀 🎣