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How to Cook Fish


How to Bake Fish
Baking refers to cooking with a dry heat, usually in an oven. Because the heat is dry, when baking fish it is important to keep the fish moisturized.

To bake stuffed whole round fish:

Please note: The photographs below show a whole red snapper (about 2 pounds). Fish should be gutted and scaled with head and tail left on.
  1. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Season fish with salt and pepper both inside the cavity and on the outside. Place fish in a rectangular or oval baking pan.

  2. Spoon stuffing mixture into cavity of fish. Add fresh herbs, if desired.

    Your stuffing mixture will go directly into the cavity of the fish.
    Your stuffing mixture will go directly into the cavity of the fish.

  3. Drizzle fish with oil; sprinkle with chopped parsley.

  4. Bake 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting occasionally with pan juices.

    Occasionally baste your fish with the juices released from cooking.
    Occasionally baste your fish with the juices released from cooking.
To bake stuffed whole flat fish:

Please note: The photographs below show a whole flounder (about 1 to 11/4 pounds). Whole flat fish such as flounder may need to be special ordered from your local market's fish department. Fish should be gutted and scaled with head and tail left on.
  1. Rinse whole flat fish and pat dry with paper towels. Place fish on greased baking sheet with head side up. Cut slit down backbone in the center of the top of the fish, using sharp utility knife.

    Grease your baking sheet before you place the fish to avoid sticking.
    Grease your baking sheet before you place the fish to avoid sticking.

  2. Starting on side of fish, insert knife horizontally into slit. Begin cutting, about 1 inch from head, between flesh and bone, stopping just before tail to form pocket. Cut another pocket on other side of slit.

    Begin you cut just below the head and stop just above the tail.
    Begin your cut just below the head and stop just above the tail.

  3. Prepare stuffing and spoon mixture evenly into prepared fish pockets.

    Place your stuffing evenly throughout the fish.
    Place your stuffing evenly throughout the fish.

  4. Sprinkle fish with breadcrumbs and drizzle with butter.

  5. Bake 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.
Poaching is another excellent option for fish. Learn about this cooking method on the next page.

Want more information? Try these:
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Cooking Seafood: Get your feet wet by exploring the best ways to prepare seafood.
  • Fish Recipes: Reel in dozens of amazing fish recipes from this article.
  • Shellfish: From shrimp and lobster to clams, mussels, and more, you'll find valuable information on shellfish at HowStuffWorks.


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