On the long list of reasons to love seafood, short cooking time may be second only to irresistible flavor. Of course, there's also the impressive nutrition profile to consider: the heart-healthy fats, low calories, and all those studies that link fish consumption with improved intellectual performance.
On a practical basis, fish means a fabulous meal on the table within 30 minutes--using handy ingredients and simple cooking techniques. That's what really inspires ardent seafood lovers. Follow these tips for success.
• Ask your fishmonger when the seafood was delivered. If
it was that day, you can store it in your refrigerator for another
day or two.
• Fish should smell clean and faintly of the ocean, lake, or river. If it smells like iodine, ammonia, or otherwise strong, it's old.
• If you plan to cook the fish within two hours of purchase, leave it in the market packaging in the refrigerator; just before cooking, rinse fish under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Otherwise, go ahead and unwrap, rinse, and pat dry; line a plate with a dry paper towel, lay the fish in a single layer, then top with another paper towel. Store in the refrigerator.
• Rinse all shellfish, too, before cooking. If it will be seared in a pan, be sure to pat it dry.
• Keep a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers on hand for removing as many bones as possible.
• All food continues to cook a bit after being taken from its heat source, so factor that in to the cooking time.