Best methods to cook your fish

Delicious Seafood Recipes

Fish of the month

040 Hoki Whole cropTypes of fish cuts include:

  • Fillet – the boneless flank of the fish
  • Dressed – with head and fins (entrails, scales and gills are removed)
  • Steak – cross-sections taken from a dressed fish
  • Gutted – whole fish with entrails remove 

Cooking times for fresh fish

 To estimate the cooking time of a fresh piece of fish, measure the meat at its thickest part. Suggested cooking times include:

  • One cm thick – bake for 3 minutes, shallow fry for 4 minutes, grill for 5 minutes, poach for 8 minutes, steam for 3 minutes. 
  • Two cm thick – bake for 11 minutes, shallow fry for 7 minutes, grill for 6 minutes, poach for 10 minutes, steam for 7 minutes.
  • Three cm thick – bake for 15 minutes, shallow fry for 10 minutes, grill for 9 minutes, poach for 12 minutes, steam for 11 minutes.
  • Four cm thick – bake for 20 minutes, shallow fry for 13 minutes, grill for 11 minutes, poach for 13 minutes, steam for 14 minutes 

Cooking times for frozen fish

To estimate the cooking time of a frozen piece of fish, measure the meat at its thickest part. Suggested cooking times include:

    • One cm thick – bake for 17 minutes, shallow fry for 7 minutes, grill for 12 minutes, poach for 10 minutes, steam for 5 minutes.
    • Two cm thick – bake for 22 minutes, shallow fry for 11 minutes, grill for 15 minutes, poach for 15 minutes, steam for 11 minutes.
    • Three cm thick – bake for 35 minutes, shallow fry for 15 minutes, grill for 24 minutes, poach for 22 minutes, steam for 13 minutes.
    • Four cm thick – bake for 39 minutes, shallow fry for 18 minutes, grill for 28 minutes, poach for 28 minutes, steam for 16 minutes.

Talleys Jan 2014 333Different techniques to cooking your fish:


Make shallow cuts along the top of the fish. Put into a baking dish and cover. Flavour with herbs, lemon juice and olive oil to keep it moist. Bake at around 180 °C and baste frequently.

Pan frying

Place any firm fish steak directly on the grates over the hottest section. Sear steaks 1 to 2 minutes per side to seal in the juices. Finish cooking just slightly away from the hottest area, or finish cooking in a 450 degree oven if desired following the 10 minute rule.

Skin-on Fillets
Cover the grates with aluminum foil, oiled lightly. Season fish according to your tastes and cook on top of foil, skin side down, following the 10 minute rule.

Skinless Fillets
Cook fillets in a foil “tent.” Place fillet on foil. Sprinkle with white wine and favorite herbs. If desired, lay sliced blanched vegetables on top of fillet. Seal foil making a “tent” which allows space for steam to collect. Cook according to 10 minute rule. Allow slightly more time if vegetables are on top of fish.

Whole Fish
Stuff and/or season any whole fish to your tastes. Wrap in foil and place on the grill. Use the 10 minute rule per fish side, turning halfway through to cook evenly.


Pan frying and butter sautéing only require enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, and a simple dusting with flour should suffice to coat the fish. Slices no more than 1/2 inch thick are ideal, and frozen fish should be at least partially thawed. Cook in oil heated to 190°C until one side is golden brown, turn once and cook until the other side is done.


Cut slashes into whole fish to help the heat penetrate the flesh. Place fish on a preheated and lightly oiled grill. Baste with a sauce or marinade as desired.

Poaching (Not suitable for flaky varieties)

Estimate amount of liquid needed to cover seafood in poaching pan or saucepan. Suggested liquids include seasoned water, chicken broth, tomato juice or wine. Bring to boil; cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add seafood and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until done.


Put fish in a steamer or on a plate, set two inches above the boiling liquid, in a deep pot. Cover and reduce heat and steam until done.


Commonly used to flavor fish for broiling or barbecuing, but may also be used to replace the need for cooking. The acidic content of vinegar or lemon juice serves to denature the fish proteins, just as heat cooking does. Fish should be marinated in nonmetal containers and refrigerated. Soft-textured seafood’s are apt to lose their shape or fall apart in a marinade, so firm fish and shellfish are best.

Seafood Kabobs or Kebabs

Marinate firm fish chunks shark, sword, halibut, tuna, ling, Stargazer or sea scallops in herbs and oil for approximately two hours and then skewer with vegetables such as onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms. Place on hot grill and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on size of fish chunks. Turn skewers frequently.