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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Check If Fish Is Cooked

Yesterday we suggested that you roast fish more often and included an easy recipe.

The only difficult part of roasting fish is determining when it’s done. A key reason some people don’t like fish is because they grew up with overcooked, dry, “fishy” fish.

While each recipe has time guidelines, it requires some experimentation with both the size of the fish and your oven to get it done exactly as you like it.

Here’s the best way to check if the fish is finished cooking:

  • At the low end of the estimated cooking time, remove the baking sheet from the oven. (Close the oven door quickly to keep the temperature constant.)
  • Press on the fish with the back of a spoon or with a clean finger. (Be careful if you use the finger method, as the fish will be hot.)

    Halibut Provençal with onion, tomatoes,
    olives and white wine. Get the recipe.
    Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • If the fish flakes apart easily, it’s cooked. If the fish still seems quite firm (as if it’s pushing back at you rather than falling apart), then it needs to cook a little longer.
  • Fish fillets cook quickly, so check on them again every two minutes. Remember, also, that the fish will continue to cook after removed from the oven. So if it’s “almost there,” take it out.
    We never overcook fish because we like it on the rare side. After decades of eating sashimi and sushi, we enjoy it on the raw side, too!

    For guests, we often prepare “fish three ways”; for example, a roast salmon fillet, some slices of sushi-quality raw salmon and a salmon tartare (substitute salmon in this tuna tartare recipe) or a shooter of salmon chowder.

    There are many other options that don’t require raw fish. For example, top three smaller pieces of fish with very different sauces: this Provençal sauce, a mint-yogurt sauce and a mix of chopped pistachios and dried cherries.

  • Find more of our favorite fish recipes.

  • Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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