Does cooking fish make you nervous? Will you overcook it? Will it taste “fishy?” Pack away your fears with these foolproof recipes that are a breeze to cook and provide all of the leanprotein and omega-3s that make fish such a nutritional superstar.
Pistachio-Crusted Sheet-Pan Salmon
Easy enough for every day but special enough for company, topping salmon filets with a mustard-spiked pistachio crust helps keep the fish deliciously moist and tender. As a bonus, you’ll get a double dose of heart-protective omega-3s for the win!
- 4 6-ounce wild-caught salmon filets
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- 1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Parsley, finely minced
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Rinse salmon and pat dry. Place skin side down on one half of a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Brush with half the oil and season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and lemon juice. Spread on top of each salmon filet.
- Gently press the pistachios into the mustard. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus with the remaining oil. Scatter on the other half of the baking sheet.
- Bake for 7–10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven and let stand for five minutes before serving.
Per serving: 301 cal; 16g total fat; 5g carb; 26g protein; 135mg sodium; 1g sugar
Herbed Olive Oil–Poached Cod
Slowly poaching cod in extra virgin olive oil ensures the fish stays moist and succulent. The cod also picks up the complex flavors of the oil, as well as a healthy dose of good-for-you polyphenols. The result is a delicious, nutrient-packed meal.
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 2 pound fresh cod filets, cut into 4-inch pieces
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, herbs, and lemon slices over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the herbs and lemon with a slotted spoon and discard. Set the oil aside and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 250°
- Once the oil has cooled, pat the fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the cod in an 8-inch square glass baking dish in a single layer. Pour the herb-infused oil over the cod.
- Place the cod in the oven and poach for 45 minutes. Check the fish for doneness. If you notice the appearance of white albumen around the fish and the fish flakes easily, remove from oven. If not, continue to poach the cod for an additional 10–15 minutes.
- Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.
Per serving: 148 cal; 0.9g total fat; 0g carb; 32.6g protein; 758mg sodium; 0g sugar
New England Fish Chowder
Nothing is better on a cold winter’s day than a comforting bowl of chowder. And this fish chowder definitely fits the bill. Packed with vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, this creamy chowder also provides a wealth of nutritional perks. Plus, it’s endlessly adaptable. If dairy is a problem, feel free to substitute coconut cream for the heavy cream. Keto, low-carb, or paleo? Swap the potatoes for cauliflower florets.
- ¼ cup bacon or salt pork, diced
- ½ cup onions, diced
- ½ cup carrots, diced
- 2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 bottle clam juice
- 1½ pounds haddock, cod, or other meaty white fish, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Parsley, minced
- In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon or salt pork over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add the onions and carrots and sauté gently for two minutes.
- Stir in the potatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fish and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the fish flakes easily.
- Add the cream and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of parsley.
Per serving: 552 cal; 47g total fat; 18.5g carb; 16.88g protein; 279mg sodium, 5.9g sugar
Fish can be an extremely healthy source of protein—and fatty, cold-water varieties like anchovies, cod, salmon, and sardines deliver a healthy dose of omega-3s. But some varieties are high in a form of mercury called methylmercury. This type of mercury accumulates in the body and can cross the blood-brain barrier, where it can damage the central nervous system. While this can be a concern for everyone, it’s especially dangerous for women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and children under the age of six. To ensure your fish is low in this harmful heavy metal, check out the guide to mercury in fish compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council at https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/walletcard.pdf
Mercury isn’t the only problem. Farmed fish is often a source of toxins like dioxin, PCBs, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and pesticides. On the other hand, wild-caught seafood typically has much lower chemical levels while also providing more omega-3s and higher levels of essential vitamins, including iron, potassium, and zinc.