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Fish eating 101

by 40 · May 20, 2010 at 05:42 AM

I'm still at the paleo-curious stage, but am doing fairly well at cutting out the bad stuff from my diet, and adding in the good stuff. I would really like to add more fish, for nutrition and variety, but I have never liked fish. Just a whiff of something fishy can kill my appetite. I've eaten salmon a few times recently, but it was a challenge. So here's what I want to know:

  • What are the healthiest mild-tasting fish?
  • Are there any fish that aren't too healthy? (so I can avoid wasting time on those)
  • Any tasty and easy recipes for a fish cooking beginner?
  • How worried should I be, if I don't acquire a taste for fish and can't eat much?

Thank you!

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55320 · May 17, 2010 at 04:26 PM

What are the healthiest mild-tasting fish? Sea bass, flounder, red snapper...though personally salmon was my first foray into fish. I think smoked salmon is a decent intro, especially with some black pepper or lemon.

Are there any fish that aren't too healthy? (so I can avoid wasting time on those) Farmed fish in general. Trout and tilipia are fairly low in omega-3. I would look up fish in nutritiondata.

# Any tasty and easy recipes for a fish cooking beginner? What normal food do you like? For me, I LOVE spicy thai food, so I made spicy thai recipes with fish. Thai is also a good way to go because the acids and spicy notes mask fishiness. A typical recipe for me is fish simmered in coconut milk with tons of curry paste.

But really, I can't recommend a very good restaurant enough. I never would have touched most of these fish if I hadn't first had them prepared expertly. I was the kid who gagged at the smell of fish, but a good chef knows how to make fish non-fishy and delicious!

My rule for fish recipes = acid (lemon/lime/vinegar) + spicy (black, green, red pepper) + added fat (butter or coconut) + flavorings (ginger/cilantro/basil)

Weirdly enough, sushi has been my first foray into many types of fish. At a good sushi place fish should never taste very fishy. I first had eel and mackerel, fish I was quite scared by, at a good sushi place.

If you do dairy, clam or lobster bisques and chowders are a good intro.

# How worried should I be, if I don't acquire a taste for fish and can't eat much? I would just keep trying. There has to be a fish (or seafood) out there for you. I still hate many types of fish (sardines, herring, mussels), but I've found some seafoods that I LOVE and I am SO GLAD they are part of my life. Shellfish was a revelation for me- shrimp, lobster, clams, and oysters are now some of my favorite foods.


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70 · May 17, 2010 at 04:27 PM

I've found the following resource to be helpful regarding which fish "aren't too healthy":

http://med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/fish.htm

I find most white fish to be more mild, so maybe start with that and compare it to the chart at the link attached to find a happy medium between healthy and mild.

Also, when in doubt about taste - I just stir fry it. Throw in some curry and coconut and you can mask anything.

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10 · May 17, 2010 at 04:34 PM

I tend to stick to Sardines, preferably in mustard sauce, or straight form the farmer's market.

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2762 · May 20, 2010 at 05:42 AM

You might also read Seafood Watch to find out if what you're eating is sustainably harvested. Monkfish, alas, is on the "avoid" end of the spectrum.

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2525 · May 17, 2010 at 05:28 PM

Some of the fishyness you dislike may be because the fish is not super fresh. If you can get your hands on very fresh fish, it should not be 'fishy'. In addition to the fish mentioned here already, monkfish is lovely - very meaty and firm

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619 · May 17, 2010 at 04:28 PM

I find smoked salmon to be delicious, have you tried it?

Crab legs are also extremely good.

I used to think I didn't like fish, but I think that was mostly due to poor cooking technique. I think you should find an expensive (seafood) restaurant and order the fish the server recommends. Then you will know how it's supposed to taste.

Quality counts for a lot with fish; you can't cheap out and expect something good to eat.

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