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The Best 8 Ways To Cook Seafood

Most people can handle cooking chicken or even steak within the confines of their own kitchen. However, when it comes to seafood, many would rather order out than make it themselves.

The Best 8 Ways To Cook Seafood

Because of the delicate nature of fish, crustaceans and other ocean delicacies, preparing them often requires extra care and attention.

With so many cooking methods to choose from, how do you know which one is best?

Use the guide below to determine which technique is best for your seafood — and glean a few important tips along the way.

1. Grill or Broil

Gourmet Grilled shrimp with original stove between picnic.

Any fish fillet or shellfish tastes great on the grill, especially if you marinate it first.

Make sure the pan or grates are searing hot from the moment the seafood hits the pan.

This way your fish is easier to flip. Use grill baskets for delicate fillets or a broiler platter if you suspect the food might fall through the grates.

Use the touch method to determine doneness or an instant-read thermometer for larger fish.

Remember to slightly under-cook grilled or broiled seafood to compensate for carryover cooking.

2. Roast or Bake

The Best 8 Ways To Cook Seafood

If you’re looking for a simpler but equally effective way to cook your seafood, try tossing it in the oven.

The only downside to roasting or baking fish and oysters is that the seafood doesn’t gain many colors during the process.

However, you can easily add some paprika, breadcrumb coating, or nut crust to enhance its color and texture.

Otherwise, you can quickly pan-sear the meat before putting it in the oven.

Score the larger portions to ensure even cooking and avoid burning the tail.

3. Sauté

freshly cooked mussels in a frying pan in tomato sauce. pepata di cozze or mussels marinara. classic dish of mediterranean italian cuisine on white with blue marble table

Sauteing is another popular method for cooking fish, lobster, soft-shell crabs and shrimp.

It’s so common, in fact, that the French developed a classic technique called Meuniere, which uses brown butter, lemon, and chopped parsley as a garnish for skinless fish.

Saute skin-on fish like trout and salmon by cooking the skin side first.

Then flip the fish and baste the skin with butter in the pan.

If you do it right, the skin will be crispy and the meat moist and tender.

4. Pan-Fry

The Best 8 Ways To Cook Seafood

Add more texture to your seafood by adding more oil to the pan, lowering the heat, and pan-frying it.

This cooking method is ideal for scallops, oysters, clams, shrimp, shellfish, and all types of fish.

Breading or battering the meat in flour, beer or milk, and eggs will keep things crispy and add a savory quality to the palate.

Use the basket method to deep-fry breaded cuts and the drop-in method for batter-fried seafood.

5. Simmer or Boil

Moist heat cooking methods like simmering and boiling bring out subtler flavors and textures that the previous techniques can’t.

However, it’s best to reserve boiling for lobsters and other crustaceans as high temperatures can often overcook more delicate fish and seafood without a protective outer shell.

Simmering is much gentler in comparison.

Regardless of which one you choose, you should salt the water or add spices and vegetables to enhance the aroma.

6. Steam

Steamed salmon with fresh herbs and lemon. Rice as a garnish

Steaming your seafood is an excellent way to cut excess calories and fats because it doesn’t require any oils or batters.

Because it’s such a naked and simplistic approach, you must choose the highest quality seafood.

Otherwise, you’re bound to notice funky flavors or an “off” taste you can’t put your finger on.

This method is especially popular for cooking mussels, clams, crab, and lobster.

Use a chamber, bamboo steamer, or a sealed pot with a little bit of liquid and add herbs or spices to enhance flavor.

7. Poach

The Best 8 Ways To Cook Seafood

Shrimp, lobster, and fish lend themselves well to poaching. Two classic styles include submerging poaching and shallow poaching.

The former is great for whole fish and involves submerging the food in a quart of bouillon.

The latter is used for small cuts of fish and calls for wine or stock to be added to the pan, along with shallots, garlic, and butter.

Poach the seafood on the stovetop or transfer it to the oven to finish cooking.

8. Stew or Braise

mixed fresh creamy spicy seafood soup bowl

Are you in the mood for squid or calamari? Try stewing or braising it.

This method is more popular for cooking mussels, oysters, and clams because it tenderizes even the toughest meat.

However, you can easily modify the cooking time to accommodate more tender foods like prawns, can, and lobster.

Use firm fish like leatherjacket, ling, flathead, and whiting to keep the sloppiness at bay.

If you’re making a flavorful stew or curry, remember to use more flavorful fish like mackerel or tuna instead.

The Best 8 Ways To Cook Seafood

Alternative Preparations

Because some seafood is incredibly tender even before cooking, many varieties are served raw, including sashimi and sushi.

You can also use a cold-cook method to denature proteins and marinade tender cuts of fish.

This technique relies on citrus from lemons and limes to produce a firm texture and make the seafood safe for consumption.

Regardless of how you cook or prepare your seafood, remember to practice food safety and ensure all meats reach the proper temperature before serving.

With a little time and practice, you’ll discover which methods and techniques are best. Just be prepared for a little trial and error.

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