How to Cook Fish
When it comes to slimming friendly foods, fish dishes come pretty high up the list. You’ve probably heard the saying ‘if it swims, it slims’ and we can’t argue with that! Fish is high in protein and low in calories, so it will keep you fuller for longer, helping you along on your slimming journey.
It can be easy to under or overcook fish – and getting it just right is the key to making sure your fillets have the right texture and the best flavour. Cooked fish should be light, flaky and never dry.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite fish recipes that explain how to cook fish so that it’s flaky and flavourful every time.
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Baked or roasted fish
Chunky fillets of fish are perfect for baking in the oven. Along with getting that lovely roasted flavour, they stay nice and succulent too. Salmon is particularly good for roasting – it can be infused with flavours, marinated or rubbed with spices and popped in the oven to work its magic.
It only takes about 15 minutes to bake a salmon fillet to perfection, so it’s ideal for a slimming friendly midweek meal. This Chilli and Lime Baked Salmon is a delicious quick lunch and easy to bulk out with extra veggies for a light yet filling dinner. You don’t need to let the salmon sit in the marinade, so you can drizzle it over the fish and pop it straight into the oven.
You’ll know the fish is cooked when it’s firm to the touch but starting to flake when you press down on it. The flakes will be opaque and the fish may have started to brown on the outside. If you want to be extra sure that the salmon is cooked all the way through, you can use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. Standard advice in the UK is to cook food until it’s reached 70°C and maintained that temperature for 2 minutes.
Cod is another fish that tastes incredible when it’s roasted in the oven. It’s meaty enough to be loaded with flavour and left to bake until it’s flaky and melt-in-the-mouth soft.
How long your cod needs in the oven is dependent on the thickness of the piece of fish. It can take as little as 10 minutes to bake a cod steak to perfection – you’re looking for the fish to turn from translucent to opaque in the middle. It should be white all the way through and piping hot.
Why not try this Baked Cod Provencal recipe this week? It’s a vibrant, low calorie dish that always makes us think of holidays. We love the flavourful, herby seasoning that all your veggies get coated in. These need longer in the oven than the fish does, so pop your vegetables in first and add the cod 10-15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Pan fried fish
Although chunkier fillets of fish are often better off cooked in the oven, there are plenty of recipes where you can pop your seafood in a pan.
If you fancy trying something a bit different with your fresh fish, how about turning it into these Salmon Burgers? They’re pan fried until they’re golden brown on the outside and opaque pink on the inside.
A nice change from beef burgers, this recipe comes in under 500 calories (including the burger bun), and it’s on the table in just 20 minutes – a winner all round!
You’ll need a good quality non-stick frying pan to make sure your burgers are easy to flip halfway through cooking. This Tefal pan is suitable for all hobs, including induction.
In this Honey Soy Salmon with Seaweed Salad recipe, the salmon is started in the pan and then transferred to the oven to finish cooking. This method helps the skin get really crisp, while keeping the fish juicy.
You might think seaweed seems like a strange addition to a salad, but trust us on this one – the salty flavour works so well with the honey and soy marinated fish. You end up with a really light yet flavour-packed meal that’s perfect for lunches or summertime dinners.
We’ve used wakame seaweed in this recipe, which you should be able to find in the supermarket. If it’s easier, you can also find it online, like this packet from Amazon.
Poaching is one of the easiest ways to cook delicate fish. It involves cooking your ingredients in a liquid such as water, stock or milk, which helps the fish to lock in moisture and all its nutrients.
This is a fuss free cooking method that results in maximum flavour. Once your fish is perfectly poached, the liquid can be saved and used to make a sauce to serve alongside your finished dish.
This is exactly what we do when making our Admiral’s Fish Pie. To preserve all the delicious flavours of the salmon, cod and haddock, we cook the fish in stock and then use the poaching liquid to make a creamy sauce.
This fish pie is jam-packed with seafood – once the prawns and mussels are mixed in, covered in sauce and topped with mashed potatoes, it all gets baked in the oven. At 600 calories, it’s a little more indulgent than some other fish recipes, but perfect for special occasions.
Fancy whipping up this Salmon Kedgeree for a weekend brunch? Our recipe tells you to bake the salmon in the oven before adding it into the pan with all that fluffy rice, but there’s no reason you can’t poach it instead if you prefer.
Set some water on the hob to boil, reduce the heat until it’s simmering and then pop in your salmon and let it poach until the flakes have turned opaque. This is such a hearty brunch or lunch, we even enjoy it for dinner sometimes!
Air fryer fish
There’s no denying we love any excuse to crack out the air fryer! There are so many recipes that can be converted to your air fryer to save time and effort, and fish dishes are no exception!
Anything that you would normally bake in the oven or deep fry for a crispy finish will get so much crunchier, much more quickly when you air fry it. If you’ve never thought about cooking fish in your air fryer, these Fish Fingers are a great place to start.
Our slimming friendly version of the freezer staple, we think these are even tastier than the supermarket offerings. You can use any kind of white fish that you like, cut into chunky fingers.
Coat them in breadcrumbs and pop them in the air fryer until they’re crispy on the outside with opaque white flakes on the inside. You can find a handy oven to air fryer conversion chart in this article.
If you don’t have an air fryer, simply follow the recipe steps to make these in the oven! Or take a look at our rundown of the best air fryers to buy. It includes budget friendly buys like this Pro Breeze 4.2 Litre Air Fryer that comes with a variety of preset cooking options.
For an even more grown up version of fish fingers, how about trying this Fish Kievs recipe in your air fryer? Unlike the traditional chicken version that you might have tried, our dish isn’t deep fried or stuffed with high calorie butter.
Instead, we’ve flavoured some reduced fat spread with garlic, parsley and lemon and stuffed it into a chunky cod fillet, coated the whole thing in breadcrumbs and baked it in the oven. Imagine just how crispy these get in the air fryer! It circulates hot air to give a deep fried finish with barely any oil in sight – a spritz of low calorie cooking spray in the basket will stop the coating from sticking as it cooks.
Inspired to eat more fish?
Replacing one meal a week with a fish dish is a great way to cut down on meat. If you love to make fish recipes at home as part of your slimming journey, let us know your favourite ways to cook fish!
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