Learning to love fish

I do not like fish. What are some herbs and spices that make fish more flavorful?

I want to help you like fish! Masking its flavor is not the answer; the key is cooking fish properly.

First, always buy fresh fish

Ask your seafood clerk to smell the raw fish before it’s wrapped. Fresh fish should have a fresh aroma, not a smell that turns up your nose. So bring home only fresh fish, and cook it the same day.

Next, never overcook fresh fish

Overcooking fish makes it smell and taste strong, and no other flavor can mask this common mistake. I recommend cooking fish no longer than 20 minutes. Often, I won’t even cook it that long. In rare instances, I will cook for 30 minutes — it all depends on the cooking method and the thickness of the fish. To check for doneness, carefully peek into the center of the cooked fish fillet with the point of a paring knife. When the fish is opaque throughout, it is done and should come off the heat.

That said, back to adding flavor: Simply cooked fish goes well with highly flavored accompaniments. (For high flavor, try my special cocktail sauce, made with seedless raspberry jam, raspberry vinegar and prepared horseradish.)

Most baked or broiled fish fillets take well to a crust of Dijon mustard, sliced scallions and bread crumbs. Mix the three ingredients well, then spread the thick paste on top of the fillet and pop it into the oven.

Salsas are a boon for fish lovers

At long last, a tasty condiment other than cocktail sauce! Any chunky salsa enhances a baked, broiled or grilled piece of fish (breaded or plain), but your taste buds will do cartwheels if you add some inspiration to the common jarred salsas. Try mixing the following ingredients into pre-made salsa: roasted red peppers; grilled scallions; diced plum tomatoes; peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber; diced pineapple; diced mango; chopped papaya; or diced peaches.

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