Why You Need To Be Gentle When Cooking Fish

Fish is a nutritious food that provides a number of valuable health benefits. It's an excellent source of vitamins including B12 and omega fatty acids that help with brain function and lower one's risk for heart disease. In fact, Healthline notes that fish is "considered one of the most heart-healthy foods you can eat."

But when it comes to preparing fish, it's important to remember that cooking it requires a gentle touch. Fish is delicate and can break apart easily during the cooking process if you're not careful.

A hands-off approach is the best approach when pan-frying, according to Food and Wine, which advises against constantly moving the fish around in the pan. They suggest three to four minutes of cooking time before flipping. Taste of Home cautions that you should be sparing with your spatula and only flip the fish one time. If baking, cooking for five minutes on each side for a one-inch filet is the general rule of thumb.

Timing is everything

Fish need to be prepared differently depending on the type and their characteristics. The Better Fish explains that a fattier, pink fish like salmon is better suited for roasting or pan-searing, whereas a white-fleshed, flakier, leaner fish such as sea bass benefits more from broiling and grilling techniques.

Another tip involves timing and temperature. When you are pan-frying a fish that has been frozen and thawed out in the refrigerator for preparation that day, Cook the Story recommends taking the fillets out 30 to 45 minutes before cooking. The more thawed the fish is, the less likely it will stick to the pan. And a couple of minutes per side is all you need. Overcooking can sap the flavor and ruin the texture.

Taste of Home advises using a meat thermometer to monitor the fish's internal temperature.

There is also a right and wrong way to apply seasoning. Food and Wine recommends waiting until the fish is about 80 percent cooked, then removing it from the pan to season. Adding salt or seasonings too early can make a fillet too dry.

Take it easy on the fish, and the fish will reward your taste buds.