Fish Tips

Fish Tips for Home Cooks

A lot of customers ask us about how to prepare fresh fish at home. Here are some tips we hope will lead to happy grilling, roasting, and frying, from your friends as Osterville Fish.

Of course, if you don’t feel like cooking, don’t worry—we do! Come on down and pick up dinner. We’re open seven nights a week.

Grilling Tips

  • The key to perfectly grilled fish is a nice hot grill. You want to sear the fish quickly to crisp and color the outside without overcooking. The rule of thumb for grilling time is about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Firm fillets like swordfish and tuna are the easiest to handle on the grill. A little olive oil and dash of salt and pepper is just about all a good firm fillet needs.
  • Turn the fish only once, or if it is thin, do not turn it at all––just sear one side, then cover and let it bake lightly through.
  • A hinged wire grill basket is great for cooking whole fish such as seabass or salmon––it allows you to cook the fish on each side, without worrying about sticking. Drizzle the clean inside of the fish with a little olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. You can add herbs and slices of lemon too.
  • For flakier fish such as cod, haddock, or flounder, try setting the individual fillets on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season them with a little salt and pepper, and maybe a slice or two of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Fold the foil it into a neat loose pouch around the fish, set the packets on the grill, and cover. It’s like oven roasting, and on a hot grill takes about 10 minutes to cook. You’ll be surprised how the fish picks up a smoky scent and yet stays juicy and delicious this way.
  • Did you know you can grill oysters and clams right in their shells? Scrub them and place them directly on the hottest part of the grill. They’re done when the shell opens. Discard those that don’t open after about 10 minutes.
  • About marinades: fish doesn’t require a long time in a marinade, just give it about 30 minutes to soak up the flavors. Try a simple mixture of 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, and a half-teaspoon of salt.
  • If you are going to use any marinade as an extra sauce on top of the cooked fish or seafood, the marinade liquid must be boiled for at least 5 minutes to cook out any bacteria that may have developed while the fish was marinating.

Oven Roasting Tips

  • Oven roasted fish is great when you can’t light up the grill, or for flakier fish that can be hard to handle on the grill.
  • A brief roasting in a hot oven works best. Heat your oven to a nice hot temperature, 400 F while you prepare your fillets.
  • Use a baking sheet, and for easy clean-up, line it with parchment paper and drizzle it with a little olive oil.
  • As when frying, be sure to pat your fillets dry before roasting. Lay the fillets in the pan––if they have skin on them, lay them skin side down.
  • Season the fillets with salt and drizzle them with good olive oil. Add a few slices of garlic or a pinch of herbs or red pepper flakes, if you wish.
  • Roasting times vary depending on the thickness of the fish. A one-inch thick piece of cod or striped bass takes about 10 minutes, a bit more for thicker cuts. To test for doneness, press the fillets gently––when the fish just begins to flake apart, it’s done. If it feels very firm and bouncy, it probably needs another couple of minutes.
  • Use those pan juices! After you serve the fillets, pour any of those delicious pan juices over them.

Pan-Frying Tips

  • If you don’t have a deep-fryer at home, you can still get a nice crisp crust on your fish by pan-frying it.
  • Dry your fillets before you fry them. If your fillets are damp the fish will steam rather than fry and it just won’t get crisp.
  • Dredge the fish lightly in flour just before setting it in the pan. We like to season our flour with salt, pepper, and a little pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Use half olive oil and half butter for pan-frying. The butter browns easily but the oil tames that tendency, using some butter will allow the coating to brown better.
  • Let the pan get nice and hot––but not smoking––before you place the fish in it.
  • Watch the fish closely so you don’t overcook it––thin fillets like sole only need a minute or even less. The fish is done when it begins to turn opaque around the edges.
  • Remember, fish is delicate and will break apart easily, especially once it begins to cook, so as with grilling, flip your fillets only once.