Basic Fish Preparations: Broiled, Sautéed, Roasted, Poached

Broiled:
With Tomatoes and Capers – Set rack 4 inches from heat source. Spread a broiler-safe pan with olive oil. Add fish. Mix 1 pound sliced tomatoes with oil and 2 tablespoons each capers and chopped red onion. Spread over and around fish; broil. Garnish: Chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Tacos – Skip tomatoes and capers. Rub fish with vegetable oil and a mild chili powder; broil. Meanwhile combine 2 chopped cucumbers, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 minced hot chili and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Flake fish and serve in warm corn tortillas with cucumber salsa.

Caramelized Fish – Skip tomatoes and capers. Heat a little vegetable oil in pan; dredge fish in a mixture of brown sugar and (lots of) coarse black pepper. Broil carefully; fish will brown quickly. Drizzle with fish sauce. Garnish: Mint (lots), minced chili (optional).

Sauteed:
Cornmeal-Crisped – Cut fish into 4 pieces and soak in 1½ cups buttermilk. Combine 1 cup cornmeal with 1 tablespoon chili powder. Put a large skillet over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter. Pull half the fish from buttermilk; drain, then dredge in cornmeal; cook until golden, turning once. Wipe skillet clean, then repeat. Garnish: Lemon and parsley or cilantro.

Classic Sautéed – Skip buttermilk, cornmeal and chili powder. Beat 2 eggs with ¼ cup chopped parsley. Dredge the fish lightly in all-purpose flour, then in egg mixture; cook in butter and oil in two batches. Garnish: Chopped parsley, lemon wedges.

Prosciutto-Wrapped – Skip buttermilk, cornmeal and chili powder. Lay 2 slices of prosciutto, slightly overlapping, on work surface; top with basil leaves. Wrap each piece of fish in prosciutto/basil, then repeat. Cook in oil only in two batches. Garnish: More basil.

Roasted:
With Herbs – Heat oven to 475. Put 4 tablespoons butter in an ovenproof pan and place in oven to melt. Add 4 tablespoons chopped herbs (a combo is best — parsley, dill, basil, tarragon, thyme, etc.), then add fish. Roast, turning once. Garnish: The pan juices.

With Potatoes – Skip butter and herbs. Heat oven to 425. Toss 2 pounds sliced new potatoes with ¼ cup olive oil. Roast, turning occasionally, until brown. Add 1 tablespoon chopped sage and 1 teaspoon (or more) minced garlic. Top with fish and 2 tablespoons oil. Roast until fish is done. Garnish: Pan juices.

With Leeks and Bacon – Skip butter and herbs. Toss 4 sliced leeks and 2 ounces chopped bacon (optional) with ¼ cup olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes, then add 1 tablespoon thyme leaves and ½ cup white wine. Roast 20 minutes, then top with fish and 2 tablespoons oil and roast until fish is done. Garnish: More thyme.

Poached:
With Ginger and Soy – Put a large, deep skillet over medium heat; add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon minced ginger; cook until sizzling. Add fish, ½ cup soy sauce, 1½ cups water, ½ cup chopped scallions, ½ cup chopped cilantro and a teaspoon rice vinegar. Boil, cover and turn off heat. Fish will be done in about 10 minutes. Garnish: Chopped scallions.

Curried With Zucchini – Sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 chunked zucchini in oil for 5 minutes, then add 1 tablespoon ginger and 1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste). Cook for a minute, then add fish. Substitute 1 cup coconut milk for soy sauce and use 1 cup water. Skip scallions and vinegar. Garnish: Cilantro.

In Tomato-Fennel Broth – Skip ginger; use olive oil. When oil is hot, add 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped fennel bulbs; cook 5 minutes. Add the fish, a pinch of saffron and 1 tablespoon fennel seeds. Substitute 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned are fine) for soy sauce; use 1 cup water. Skip scallions, cilantro and rice vinegar. Garnish: Chopped fennel fronds.

Source: Mark Bittman and the New York Times

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