I’m about to take you on a glamorous fish journey. This is really about how to cook fish in the oven, but I have a whole world of fish news I want to share with you, so I decided that I’ll just put it on here. We’re basically going to talk about the benefits of fish, the best kinds of fish to eat, why you should bake your fish, and (maybe) where to get your fish. You want to grab a seat and take this journey with me.
By the way, if you don’t have the time, you can just go for the information you need by clicking on the link on the list. There are enough recipes that you can choose from for family dinner or that party you’re preparing for.
Let’s begin here.
Table of Contents
You know it already, or maybe not, that fish is one of the best types of food for humans because of the nutrients they contain. You’ll get many nutrients from fish that are not only good for the human body but are also good for the human brain. If a person is deficient in a lot of nutrients, they can choose meals that are rich with fish to build those nutrients.
For example, if you need iodine or protein in your body, fish is a good source to get it from. It also contains a lot of calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, and zinc. If you eat fish that has a lot of fat content, you’ll get more of the nutrients present in natural fat which include omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Everyone needs to eat fish regularly (every week) to get the healthy amount of nutrients for the body system to function well.
How fish can affect the body system
The omega-3 fatty acid content in fish is linked to improving heart function, mental health, and the immune system. It also supports the development of organs of the body like the eye and brain, as well as physical growth. Pregnant women and growing children need a lot of it but fish that contain mercury in high quantities may lead to brain issues.
People who eat a healthy amount of fish are less likely to suffer heart diseases that may lead to problems like stroke or heart attack. Even mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s can be deterred by the intake of fish in younger years. Talk about steroids or bipolar disorder, fish that has a lot of fat content can help the body build natural steroids and can help improve depression or bipolar disorder. It’ll improve eyesight so that at old age, a person’s sight is still intact. It can also improve a person’s ability to sleep well. People who want to lose weight may resort to lean fish for lean protein.
The content and benefits of fish make them one of the best options of food for everyone. It should be among the primary meals that you feed your family. Your family will reward you with being healthy. That’s why we’re taking this journey. Because this is the gold that will keep you and your loved ones away from a regular visit to the doctor.
What is the Healthiest Fish to Eat?
Now that you know these benefits of eating fish, you should know the kinds of fish that are best for consumption. Some fish pose more threat to human health because of the minerals that they contain. For example, bluefin tuna and grouper are among the fish species that have high mercury content thus they are not safe for food. Even salmon, when gotten from a farm, may not be healthy for consumption because of all the chemicals used to feed and care for the fish. So, here’s the best fish for you to eat.
Salmon from Alaska’s Wild
Salmon caught from the river is healthier than fish from the farm. Wild-caught fish is better because it has grown on natural food, so it has a higher omega-3 content. Alaska particularly monitors the rate of reproduction of the Salmon in their river. This is how they are able to maintain healthy fish in their water body.
Well, not every type of tuna is fit for eating. Albacore tuna that was caught on a pole is safer than any other type. That means small Albacore tuna that typically weighs less than 20 lbs. These ones are less likely to carry any mercury in their bodies. If you are buying from your local fishmonger, you may want to ask how the fish was harvested.
Sardines are part of the Herring species of fish. They are small but have very high omega-3 content, and vitamin D. They also contain a lot of iron, protein, and calcium. They reproduce very fast, making them widely available and cheap (majorly as canned fish).
This fish has a high content of omega-3 and vitamin B-12. However, a better choice of mackerel is the smaller ones because the level of mercury content in those ones are very minimal. Bigger and older mackerels like king mackerel are not safe for eating.
If you want to lose some body fat, cod is a good choice of fish. They have a low-fat content but contain a lot of protein, vitamin B-12, niacin, and phosphorus. The mercury content of cod is low making it a good option of fish to eat.
This breed of salmon is grown in freshwater. The environment they are raised in makes them a better option than most other farm-bred salmon fish. While other salmon fish are exposed to parasites and are treated with antibiotics, coho salmon are bred in freshwater inside closed tanks. They are also given less artificial feeds which reduces their risk of contamination. Coho salmon have a healthy content of omega-3 fatty acids.
Farm-grown Rainbow Trout
Most of the rainbow trout in the market today are grown in a farm. In these farms, this species of fish is safer than in the wild lake. In the freshwater pond where they are raised, their fish meal is designed to preserve their species.
These are some of the best fishes to eat. The list is not exhaustive. It’s best to check out how healthy a fish species is before you get one. The process for harvesting some fish may pose a threat to human health when the fish is eaten.
What is the Best Way to Cook Fish?
When you eventually decide to eat fish, what is the best way to cook it? It’s important to answer this question because there are many ways to cook fish and they all have an effect on the nutrients contained in your fish. We’ll discuss the various ways to cook fish and their effects.
Cooking Fish by Deep Frying or Pan Frying
The process of deep-frying and pan-frying are the same because you need hot oil or fat for both processes. The difference here is that when pan-frying your fish needs only to sit half-way into the hot oil but when deep-frying, your fish is totally submerged in the hot oil. The frying process causes the fish to soak up oil that impacts the level of calorie content and the type of fat in the fish.
For example, most vegetable oils have high omega-6 fatty acids. When you fry your fish in them, the fish may soak up inflammatory the omega-6 fatty acids. This is found more in deep-fried fish than in fish is pan-fried majorly because deep-frying requires a larger amount of oil. However, if you are frying fatty fish, it’ll absorb less fat than when you are frying lean fish.
Another point to consider in oil frying is that it tends to break up the omega-3 fatty acids contained in the fish. Depending on the fish you’re frying, the damage may be as high as 70 %. This doesn’t mean that every fish is affected. Some fish varieties like herring may not be affected by the heat from hot oil.
Omega-3 is not the only nutrient affected by frying. Vitamin D may also be destroyed in some fish species. In fact, fish may form compounds like PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and Has (Heterocyclic Amines) through the frying process. This doesn’t that you can’t fry your fish at all. Try frying with oil that doesn’t break up from high heat, like olive oil. Besides, you may choose to pan-fry more than you deep-fry.
Check out these articles…
Video: How to Cook Fish in the oven
In this video, you’ll see how to bake salmon fish in the oven
Cooking by Steaming or Poaching
Whether you’re steaming or poaching, you’ll need some form of liquid to cook your fish. When you poach, it means that you use liquid to cook in your fish in the oven. The liquid here may be water, wine, milk, or stock. When you steam, you use hot vapor with the fish placed in a special kind of pot.
The advantage of these types of cooking style is that you don’t need extra fat or oil to cook your fish. This means that the calories and fat content of your fish won’t change. Again, you’ll need a lower temperature to steam or poach your fish than if you have to fry or grill. This is important for preserving the nutrients contained in the fish. Compounds like PAHs and HAs do not form in this condition.
Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish do not break up during steaming or poaching because of the low temperatures involved. In spite of this, steaming is likely to cause the products of cholesterol oxidation to increase and these are not healthy compounds.
Cooking by Broiling and Grilling
If you want to make very delicious fish and you want it very fast with minimal fats, grilling or broiling is the way to go. When it comes to the amount of heat need to cook fish, they both require dry heat and really high temperatures. However, when grilling, you’ll apply heat from under the fish but if you’re broiling, you’ll pass the heat overhead.
The problem with broiling and grilling is that the high heat from open flame causes the fish tissues to form PAHs and Has compounds which are harmful to human health. These methods can also cause AGEs (Advanced Glycation End-products) to form. Although compounds like Has and PAHs pose a greater risk in red meat, you want to reduce how much you eat them from food. AGEs is found naturally in the body as you grow older but if a person has them in high quantity, they are more at risk of problems like diabetes and heart diseases amongst others.
When cooking with Grills and broilers, marinade your fish properly, don’t cook for too long, and try not to char the fish.
Cooking Sous Vide
This method involves cooking your fish in a pouch that is completely closed. Inside the pouch, the fish has a water bath in a controlled temperature. Literally, cooking happens under vacuum. It takes long but the regular temperatures help to retain moisture and nutrients. Omega-3, which is one of the most important nutrients in fish, doesn’t break up in this process. There is not a lot of HAs and other harmful compounds formed in this process.
If you have all the time, sous vide is a better method to cook your fish.
Cooking with Microwave
The technology in microwave involves the oven using energy waves to cook. As the energy waves move around the fish, the interaction causes vibrations and in that process, the fish heats up. The temperatures involved are low and the fish cooks fast. When you cook fish in the microwave, the nutrients in it (including omega-3 fatty acids) are less likely to break down. The low cooking temperatures also mean that PAHs and Has won’t form on the fish.
Cooking in the Oven
Baking fish involves using dry heat in a closed system but not with open flame. This method has a higher ability to preserve the omega-3 content and vitamin D present in the fish. The other side is that if you rub your fish in volatile cooking oil before baking, the omega acids content may alter. You should use oil that is stable even in high heat to marinate your fish. An example is olive oil.
This means that it’s okay for you to cook your fish in the oven. So, our voyage is valid. Woo Hoo!
How Long Should You Bake Fish?
Let’s begin with how long is okay to leave your fish baking in the oven. Because, honestly, you don’t want to leave your fish cooking too long on the oven neither do you want to eat uncooked fish. With your fish uncovered and the oven set to an appropriate temperature, the outcome will be fish that is easy to break and soothing to eat.
Lining your baking pan with foil will help the process of cleaning up after cooking easy for everyone. How long you’ll bake your fish in the oven will depend on the temperature of your oven.
Baking Fish at 400 Degrees
If you are baking thick fish, you’ll need to bake it for 20 minutes approximately at 400 degrees F. If the fish is thinner, 15 minutes will do the job. Salmon from the wild is usually thinner than farm-bred salmon so they’ll cook is less time than farm-bred ones.
This is a general assumption. The thicker the fish, the more time it takes to bake. If you have fish that is not evenly thick, you can detach the thinner part so that it bakes in less time than the thicker part.
Baking Fish at 425 Degrees
Baking fish at 425 degrees F takes approximately 10 minutes for thinner fish and 12 minutes for thicker fish.
Baking Fish at 450 Degrees
If your fish is ½-inch thick, cook it for 4 mins approximately. With every ½-inch, bake for an additional 4 minutes. This means that 1-inch thickness will require about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on the process.
Baking Fish at 350 Degrees
If the oven temperature is set to 350 degrees, then the fish should bake for approximately 30 minutes
With this time/temperature guide, you should keep an eye on the fish through the process. Check the fish intermittently to see if it breaks off easily on your fork.
What is the Safe Temperature to Eat Fish?
Just like most animal food, it’s not safe to eat raw fish. Well-cooked fish is ready when the internal temperature is 145 degrees F. If you’re using a thermometer, that’s the temperature to look out for. Otherwise, cut the fish at a thick spot and check if it has a filmy color plus comes off freely. If it does, your fish is cooked and safe to be eaten.
Tips and Tricks to Help Your Baking Process
Before we go down to our recipes, let’s learn some handy tricks that would enhance the process. Whether you choose a steak, fillet, or whole fish recipe, there’s something you can pick from these tips right here.
Preserve your fish oil. We have recipes that require you to bake the fish uncovered, and this may suck up the natural oil in your fish if it’s not done well. So, timing is crucial. There’s a required amount of time for your fish to stay out in the oven. If you leave it longer, you’ll end up with a dried-out fish. How dried out it’ll be depends on how much longer you left it baking.
The trick here is to keep an eye on the process. Fish keeps cooking a few minutes after it’s out of the oven so you may want to get it a minute or two ahead.
Choose the right fish. Fish goes stale after a while if it’s not preserved well. But you can identify fresh fish from the eyes (they protrude slightly, are bright, and clear) and gills (they’re still red or pink). If you can, get fresh fish. It makes all the difference.
Defrost Fish. In a frozen state, fish is as nutritious as it’ll be in a fresh state, but you need to thaw it before cooking. Just leave it in the refrigerator (on the lower rungs) for at least 8 hours but no more than 12 hours. A faster way to defrost fish is to leave it in a cold-water dish. Add about 3 tbsp salt to the cold water and leave it for a few hours. Generally, don’t leave defrosted or fish lying out for up to 12 hours. It’ll go stale and impair your dish.
Marinade. Lemon, salt, and vinegar are good ingredients for marinating your fish. If you’re creating your own recipe, consider using them (oh! not together). If you want it firm, with a fresh taste, add salt and lemon to the fish. If you want it tender and sweet, leave it in vinegar. Each result is unique to itself, but you’ll love them.
Prevent burning or sticking to the pan. It’s very easy for the flesh of the fish to stick to the baking pan while it’s cooking. You can control this if you line the bottom of your pan with celery and onions. Not only do they keep the fish together, but the taste of your fish will also improve.
Preserve Baked Fish. There are those times when you are having leftover fish from family dinner or hosting your guests. Or you be thinking of making the fish meal ahead. That’s fine. Cover up the fish and leave it in the refrigerator. Well, the fish can’t stay for more than 3 days so you should have a plan really quick.
One last tip. Don’t flip your fish. Or be very careful when you do. Fish isn’t so strong, and they tend to flake out quite easily, especially when they are cooked. Except you’re okay with broken fish. But if your aim is whole fish, then stay away or flip it over only once with every carefulness you can muster.
Oregano-Flavored Baked Sardines Recipe
Travel to the heart of Greece with this recipe of sardines, oregano, and garlic. The sardines used in this recipe are fresh (not canned) so you’ll need your local fishmonger more than ever to help you find them. Besides, sardines are difficult to freeze so you have to cook and eat them up within 24 hours. Using oregano flavor gives your sardines very distinctive taste so your guests and family will be entirely grateful for this meal.
What You Need
- 2.5 lbs. Sardines (fresh)
- 2 tbsp Greek oregano
- 0.5 cup of water
- 0.5 cup Squeezed lemon juice (fresh)
- 5 bulbs garlic (sliced thinly)
- 0.5 cup olive oil
- Ground black pepper
Preparation Time 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
How to Bake those Sardines
First, scale the fish and remove the intestine inside. Leave the head in place. Get a dish and combine your ingredients together. Then set your oven to heat at 355 degrees.
Next, cover a baking sheet with foil and set your sardines on it. Put those ingredients on the fish. Make sure they are covered entirely. Add salt and pepper the way you like. Then put the sheet in the oven. Allow it to bake for 45 approx. But keep an eye on it so that the fish doesn’t dry out. Check for doneness after 30 mins. There’s no need to flip the sardines while they bake.
The fish is done when you dip a fork in the thickest parts, and you can flake out cloudy parts of the fish. Get them out and allow to cook for a few minutes. Then serve.
Butter-Flavored Baked Fillets
This recipe preserves the flavor and oil in your baked fish fillet. Each tender flake is fully flavored in butter and lemon juice that delivers satisfaction to your taste buds with each bite. Make yourself and your loved ones eager to join dinner with the aroma that wafts from the kitchen as you cook. Any fish with a bit of its own flavor will be fine to make this recipe.
What You Need
- 1 lb. fish fillet
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp salt
Preparation Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
How to Bake the Fish Fillet
First Step: Get a baking pan and oil it completely. Take a dish and combine your melted butter, lemon juice, salt, and paprika. Then set your oven to heat at 375 degrees F
Next: Brush the fish fillet all over with the mixture. Set your fillet on the pan with the skin lying on the pan. If you have thinner ends, fold it under the thick ends or cut it out and bake for a shorter time than the entire fillet.
Place your pan in the oven and allow it to bake for 15 mins. Check for doneness (actually, if the fish is cloudy and flakes with ease).
Serve the baked fillet with any dish of your choice.
Crusty Oven Baked Fish Fillet
I’m sure you’ve had a taste of delicious crusty fish fillet from the restaurant and you wished you could make one yourself. If you have any leftover bread, you can make crumbs from it to bake your own fish. It’s an easy recipe, plus you can tweak it to your taste. It can be served alongside coleslaw or mashed potatoes. All the ingredients can easily be found in your kitchen.
What you Need
- 2 lbs. fish fillet or steak
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (dry, finely ground)
- ¼ cup Parmesan Grated Cheese
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tbsp butter (melted)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- Spice/Dried herbs (of choice)
Preparation Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
What to Do
First: In a deep dish, whisk together your milk and salt. In a separate dish, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and spices. Then mix your parmesan cheese, paprika, and breadcrumbs. Set your oven to preheat at 375 degrees F and oil a baking sheet.
Next: Set out the fish (fresh or thawed), put each fish fillet or steak in the milk mix then put them in the breadcrumbs one after the other. Make sure every part of the fillet is covered in crumb mixture then put it on the baking sheet. Make sure they are not touching each other. Then brush some melted butter on each one.
Now put the sheet in the oven for 25 mins then check doneness. If the fish flakes and is cloudy, it’s ready. Bring it out and serve the way you desire.
Sour Cream Baked Fish Steaks
Think about baked salmon fish topped with sour cream and served with lemon wedges. This recipe takes about 30 mins for the fish to be ready. It can be served with any vegetable of your choice like spinach and red cabbage. Of course, you can use fillets, but this is recipe’s focus is steak.
What You Need
- 2 lbs. salmon steaks
- ¼ cup full-fat sour cream
- ½ tsp dill (dried)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tbsp finely minced onion
- Ground black pepper (fresh, to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp lemon zest (finely grated)
- Lemon wedge
Preparation Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
What to Do
First: Oil a baking pan thoroughly with butter and set your oven to heat at 350 degrees F. Then lay out your fish steaks on the pan.
Next: Take a dish, mix the minced onion and squeezed lemon juice together. Drizzle each steak with the onion mixture, salt, and black pepper. Put the pan of steaks in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Check if the fish is cooked then bring it out of the oven.
Put your sour cream on each piece, dredge with dry dill and lemon zest. Put the salmon back in the oven for 2 to 3 mins. Bring it out and serve with your lemon wedges.
Have a good meal…
Baked fish can be served with almost any dish of your choice. Be creative with satisfying your appetite. You and your loved ones will be most grateful.