Plain and simple: fish is good for us. Not only is it an excellent source of protein, but it also can protect against heart disease, and slow or prevent cancer growth, when eaten regularly. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential to our diet. These acids are the main reasons fish can be so protective.
But beyond that, fish as a source of protein is a tasty alternative to other sources, and is easy to prepare. In general, the average cooking time for fish is only 10 minutes. Here are some recommendations for fish preparation:
In the beginning:
Find a store or fish market that is clean and does not have a "fishy" smell, and has an experienced fish seller.
Always smell before you buy - it should have a mild, fresh odor. Even if it looks good in the case does not mean the fish is fresh.
When purchasing fish, ask that it be packaged in a bag with ice. Then store in your refrigerator and use within 1-2 days. Otherwise, freeze the fish in an airtight container, and use within 3 months.
Bake: Cook the fish at 400 degrees, until just tender. The fish is ready to eat when it is opaque. Start checkingfor doneness halfway through the recommended cooking time (approximately 12-15 minutes). When checking, insert a fork into the thickest part of the fish and lift to see if it is opaque. If it flakes, it is overdone.
Poach: Using a covered skillet, simmer the fish steaks or fillets in just enouqh liquid to barely cover the top of the fish. For the liquid, try using broth, water or juice. Bring the liquid to a simmer, place the fish in the skillet, and then return to a low simmer. Once it has returned to a simmer, start the cooking time, which is approximately 5-10 minutes.
Broil/Grill: This method is best for thick fish (approximately 1 inch). Use a little olive oil as a marinade, both before and during cooking. If grilling, try to minimize the amount of time the fish is exposed to smoke and direct flame. Don't cook the fish directly over coals, or punch holes in a piece of foil and grill fish like that. Cooking time is approximately 10-15 minutes.
Microwave: Good for most fish types; best for the busy person. Use a microwave safe dish and cover with wax paper. Cooking time is approximately 3 minutes; if using the microwave to cook a thicker fish, check every 30 sec. to 1 minute to avoid overcooking.