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Tips to Help You Cook Fish (& an Arctic Char Recipe)

Do you want to eat more fish but don’t know where to begin when it comes to cooking it? Here are four tips from The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook to help you gain fish-cooking confidence:

Grill it. While you can get a special fish basket for the grill, you don’t need one as long as you use the proper technique. First, preheat your grill and make sure the grate is clean and dry. Then oil the grate and your fish. When the fish is done cooking, it will release when gingerly nudged by your spatula. If it does not release from a clean well-oiled grill, then it’s simply not ready! Give it a little more time; the fish will release easily when done.

Saute it. A nonstick skillet will allow you to get a crispy, golden brown sear on your fish. Yes, you’ll still need a spritz of oil, but nothing beats a nonstick skillet when it comes to cooking fish on the stovetop.

Broil it. All you need to do is coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray, place your fish on top, season, and broil. It’s quick easy, and leaves no scent behind. The rule of thumb for cooking fish is 8-10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

Get the right tools. Let’s face it, fish has a different texture from other proteins, which is part of its appeal, but that’s why it may be a bit challenging in the kitchen. I’m not one for unnecessary gadgets, but a fish spatula is a good investment. It’s extra flexible, which means you can really get under

Here’s a delicious recipe to help you put your fish-cooking skills to the test:

Arctic Char with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 (6-ounce) Arctic char fillets

3⁄4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

4 garlic cloves, halved

3 pints multicolored cherry tomatoes

1⁄4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

2 shallots, thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fillets with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Add fillets, flesh sides down, to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Place pan in oven; cook at 400° for 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes or until skins blister, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle tomato mixture with remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper, basil, and shallots; toss to combine. Serve with fish. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 fillet and about 3⁄4 cup tomato mixture).

Sustainable Choice: If Arctic char is not available, substitute frozen wild Alaskan salmon.

Nutrition info:

CALORIES 380; FAT 20.4g (sat 3.8g, mono 11.7g, poly 3.6g);  PROTEIN 31.4g; CARBOHYDRATE 20g; FIBER 2.9g; CHOLESTEROL 65mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 514mg; CALCIUM 49mg

Source: The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook (Oxmoor House, December, 2012) by Janet Helm, MS, RD and the Editors of Cooking Light Magazine.

What’s your favorite fish? How do you like to prepare/eat it?


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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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