Do you hate fish and seafood?
You might have been traumatized by a deadly fishbone swallowed as a kid. Or perhaps a bad experience with a stinky tuna sandwich or stale sushi. You might be turned off by the slimy, chewy texture, and the not-so-pleasant smell. Or maybe you never grew up eating it and you’re too scared to try at this point.
Whatever your reason is – believe me – I feel you. However, we’re not here to let go of the fact that you’re missing the amazing benefits of fish and seafood just because of childhood trauma or some poor preparation skills. We’re here to convert you.
Without further chitchats, here are 7 cooking hacks that will convert any fish hater into a fish lover.
1. Choose a white fish
If you can’t take fish because of its fishy taste and odor (we’re looking at you, salmon and tuna), we have good news for you: there are a wide range of fishes in the sea that won’t make you gag. You can even get fish meat that’s comparable to chicken.
When you’re in the seafood market, look for neutral, white fish types, such as tilapia, arctic char, grouper, cod, flounder, haddock, and sole. These are ideal for starters since they’re lighter, milder, and creamier. Other seafood types like scallops and shrimps also have that lovely, mild flavor.
2. Make it boneless and easy (and safe) to eat
Some people hate fish not because of their strong fishy flavor and weird texture, but because of their sharp, deadly bones. You might have had a terrible experience in the past when fish bones got stuck in your throat.
Go for boneless options. You can find a wide range of fish recipes that use boneless fish, including fish fillets, nuggets, and flakes.
3. De-stink your fish with chemistry
There are several seafood cooking hacks to de-stink the fish and shellfish:
- Rinse it in cold water – a quick rinse in chilly water can help get rid of the odor, as well as the bacteria and trimethylamine (TMA).
- Soak it in a salt solution – brining also does the trick in reducing odor and fishy taste, while adding a bit of flavor to the fish
- Soak it in milk – Casein, which is found in milk, effectively binds with the TMA and make your fish smell fresh. Soak the fish in milk for 10-20 minutes before cooking.
- Use acid – What’s the tried and tested trick to making fresh, raw oysters taste tolerable? Acid. In the same way, you can de-stink the fish by marinating and/or cooking it in an acidic solution, like vinegar-based ingredients and lemon juice.
- Bake your fish – instead of pan-frying and cooking it in the microwave (which brings out the fishy smell), try oven baking.
4. Spice it up
You won’t even notice you’re eating something fishy if the flavor of the sauce and/or the fish itself is out of this world.
Use herbs, spices, and flavored healthy oils when marinating and cooking your chicken. Prepare seafood dishes with robust flavors. Hide it among curries, coconut milk, cheese, barbeque sauces, fresh green herbs, and chilies and peppers, and lemon and ginger-based sauces.
5. Sneak it among other tasty ingredients
Picky eaters, like kids (and kids at heart) find fish unappetizing when it’s bare, lying on the plate, staring at them with mouth open and eyes poked out. The answer is simple: hide it among other ingredients.
Wrap it in bacon. Fill it with mozzarella cheese. Ground the fish meat and hide it in pasta sauces, sandwich spreads, soups, and rice. You can also make it more bearable for fish haters by serving them with tasty dips, dressings, and sauces.
6. Use fish to put a spin on your favorite dishes
Is this the part where we talk about fish and chips? Absolutely.
Give your favorite meals some fresh-from-the-sea twist. Swap chicken, beef, and pork for fish. Instead of making chicken tenders, use tilapia or halibut to make a nice plate of fish sticks. Be creative: make fish and chips, fish tacos, and fish burgers. How about making Tuna Alfredo instead of your classic creamy chicken and bacon pasta? Love chicken nuggets? Try making fish or crab cakes.
7. Give other kinds of seafood a chance
If you feel like you won’t get along with fish, you may be interested in trying out other sea critters that are equally nutritious. Go for mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, squids), shrimps, crabs, and lobsters.
You can also find a plethora of ways to enjoy them. Seafood curry, shrimp pasta, clam chowder, tempura, cheese-filled baked oysters, paella, and crab cakes are just some of the most popular seafood dishes you can try.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is a passionate daytime writer for Manettas Seafood Market, an online and interactive seafood hub which provides customers a true, first-class fish market experience without leaving home. Since she’s a seafood lover herself, she’s got a lot to say about food, well-being, and lifestyle.