3 Cooking Tips for Bringing your Fish to the Next Level this Lent

Mardi Gras is in the rearview and we are entering into Lent.  That means that many of us will be reaching for fish on Fridays. 

I grew up in the great land locked state of Arizona and my experience with eating fish (let alone preparing fish) was let's just say less than ideal.    For some the thought of preparing fish at home and possibly subjecting others to eating poorly cooked fish can cause anxiety. It did for me. 

Fear not, with a little practice and attention to detail you can serve up restaurant quality fish meals at a fraction of the price. 

I wanted to share the top three tips that elevated my cooking game when it comes to preparing fish. 


Tip Number 1: Pat your fish dry, and scour the skin when pan searing

When pan searing your fish you want it to have awesome color and crispy skin.  Moisture is your enemy when searing any protein but especially fish (in case you didn’t know fish live underwater… I know it shocked me too when I first found out). Pat your fillet dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

When it comes to searing a piece of fish, fresh is best, the amount of moisture in the fillet is going to be greatly reduced. It will sear better  and taste better too.  Scouring the skin will help keep the fillet from buckling when the fish hits the hot pan and maximize the contact the fillet has with the pan. 


Tip Number 2: If poaching, season the liquid

Poaching is a great way to ensure that you do not over cook your fish if you have tendency to nuke your fish. An overlooked opportunity to add flavor to your fish is to season the liquid that you are poaching your fish in.  I like to add salt, pepper, onion, garlic and some herbs (dill is a common one that works very well with fish) but, its your poaching liquid so its your rules.  Go crazy!


Tip Number 3: Add fats

What?! A fitness and nutrition coach telling you to add fat to your meal! You bet, fat is essential to a healthy diet and fish is very lean.  Something to consider is when you are cooking with a lean protein you are going to want to add a healthy fat source to your dish. This adds great flavor and keeps your protein from drying out and getting tougher than a $2 steak.  My favorite fat sources to add back to lean proteins like fish are compound butters (butter mixed with herbs and spices) and infused olive oils.


There you have it the top three game changers that brought my fish cooking game to another level.  What are your thoughts? Got questions? I love to hear them in the comments below.   

Luke Atchley