For Grilling: Fish with some heft lend themselves to the grates of a grill—salmon, tuna, and swordfish are all popular. Chef Barton Seaver likes the smoky flavor grilling gives bluefish and wild striped bass. He also recommends shucking oysters and placing them cup side down—to cook in their juices—and drizzling them with a bit of herb butter.
For Baking: Look for cuts of denser, bigger fish such as Arctic char, sablefish, and Pacific halibut. Seaver says to cook filets 40 to 50 minutes at 250 degrees with a pat of butter; the low-and-slow method yields smooth, soft filets.
For Deep-frying: Pick a fish that’s either neutral (tilapia, Alaskan cod, hake, halibut) or oily (smelts, anchovies), says BlackSalt’s Jeff Black.
For Pan searing: Seaver and Black agree that cast-iron pans are best for searing fish—the seasoned pans keep the filets from falling apart. Add a little bit of oil, and put the fish (Seaver likes farm-raised Arctic char; Black prefers fluke, flounder, or halibut) skin side down to get a crisp outside and creamy center.
This article appears in the May 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.
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