Posted by: socalsalty | December 10, 2010

Simple Way To Cook Fish

Sometimes I catch so much fish that there is no way I can eat it all that week. I try to avoid freezing. With some fish, freezing totally kills the taste (yellowtail is a good example). I’d rather share it and get people excited about fresh fish, maybe tasting something they don’t see in the store or a restaurant, and ultimately get them to come out to fish. So I end up bringing fish to my colleagues at work. I often get asked, “How should I cook it?” In the summer, I grill everything, but now that it’s getting dark sooner and cold (at least for here in So Cal), I turn to my tried and true frying pan method.

I’ve never written down this recipe for people, so now I have an easy link to reference, SoCalSalty’s Simple Way to Cook Fish.

Mike on the Spitfire fileting a red

We’re talking about filets here. You can get them done on the boat, usually for about a buck a fish. But Salty likes to cook and I wanted to gain the same proficiency with fileting fish that the deckhands on the boat have. Not there yet, but getting pretty good. I’ll detail at some point fileting instructions and the tools needed to do it, but for now, let’s cook fish.

So to start, it’s important to pat your filets dry.  Just put some paper towels on a plate and pat dry both sides.  If your filets are wet, the oil splatters, creating a mess and potentially a nasty burn.  About oil, I use extra virgin olive oil. I like it best in terms of taste and calories. For the pan, I like to use a cast iron skillet…nice even heat.

Heat the oil at a medium low setting. While it’s heating, salt and pepper both sides of your filets.  When the oil is hot, place the filets in the pan.  You’ll have to gauge based on the thickness of the filet, but 3 minutes per side is a good general rule.  As it’s cooking, you can tell it’s done when it turns white and loses that translucent quality.  It’s time to flip when the whiteness reaches about half way up your filet.  On the flip, drop a pad a butter in the pan (margarine is fine if you’re counting calories).  Now is also the time to add any other flavors you like to add.  Most of the time, I’ll either put herbs de provence, or chopped garlic in (this style is what is called mojo de ajo south of the border), but experiment with your favorite spices.

Always better with a cold, frosty beverage

Another 3 minutes and you’re done.  Pair it with a starch (ex. rice, couscous, warm tortillas), and a vegetable (my favorites are green beans, zucchini, and broccoli), and in less than half an hour total prep and cooking time, you’ve made yourself a tasty and healthy meal.  Cheers!



  1. Hey Joe,

    Sounds good, but I would recommend a medium coarse sea-salt, helps bring out the flavor!


    • Thanks Hink. I’ll try it. I’ve tried kosher salt after it’s already in the pan and closer to when it’s done. Works well also. Just trying to give people a base. I appreciate you stopping by!

  2. I like ! keep it up… I mean the site 🙂

    • Thanks Danny. I’m enjoying doing it. Keep stopping by!

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