One of the keys to successful fish dishes is buying the freshest fish possible. Here’s what to look for.
For whole fish
- Shop at a busy fish counter. Lots of customers mean lots of turnover and fresher fish.
- The fish’s eyes should be clear, not cloudy.
- The inside of the gills should be bright red, not grayish or even pink.
- It shouldn’t smell bad. Fish should have a moist, almost musky smell like a cucumber or melon’s.
For fish fillets
- They should be moist and firm.
- If there are gaps or separations in the flesh, it’s not fresh.
- They shouldn’t smell fishy. Fresh fish will keep in the fridge for a day or two, but cook it as soon as possible or freeze it for up to six months. Don’t bypass frozen fillets. Vacuum-packed sole, cod, or salmon fillets are the next best thing to fresh.
Fish makes a perfect weeknight meal because it’s done before you know it.
- Fire up the grill; almost any type of fish tastes fabulous grilled, especially salmon. Brush it with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. Throw some zucchini strips on the grill, too, and you have a blood sugar–friendly meal. (Add a side of whole grains such as a bulgur dish.)
- Wrap trout in foil with lemon slices, dill, thyme, salt, and pepper and bake. Serve over quinoa.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over fish seasoned with rosemary and sautéed on the stove. Serve with brown rice pilaf.
- Stuff a tomato with tuna salad made with low-fat mayonnaise or plain yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, chopped apples, celery, and onion. Serve with whole wheat crackers.
- If you’re a fan of sardines, try this: Sauté some onion and garlic in olive oil, then add sardines canned in tomato sauce. When thoroughly heated, pour the mixture over whole wheat pasta and toss. Top with lemon juice and grated Parmesan.
- Pickled herring is another acquired taste, but it may be worth acquiring — check out its extraordinarily high omega-3 content in the chart on the facing page. As an appetizer, try pickled herring on small squares of whole grain rye toast, sprinkled with chopped parsley and hot paprika.
Perfect Portion: 3 ounces (85 g)
If you are having fish as your main meal of the day, a serving of up to 6 ounces (170 g) is acceptable.