Many people are afraid to cook fish. Our society has more experience with poultry and red meat. But fish and seafood offer many health benefits and can be mighty tasty, too. People who live on or near the coast are well aware of the sea’s bounty. But in the Midwest, fresh seafood can be very hard to find. Almost always it must be frozen to get to landlocked states without spoiling. We know that frozen fish or seafood can end up watery, mushy, and foul-tasting because of what the freezing process can do to the flesh.
But I recently found a way of cooking frozen fish that is easy, quick, and flavorful. You might want to try it. But first, let’s look at the best way to thaw fish before you start cooking.
Obviously, the best way to thaw frozen fish from the market is to allow it to sit, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for six to 12 hours. Sometimes it may take longer, depending on the size and quantity of the fish. Remember to put the packet of frozen fish on a platter or in a dish to catch any water that comes off the fish as it thaws.
If you’re in a hurry, you can place the frozen package under running cold water for one to two hours per pound. You can also put the fish in a sealable plastic bag and put that in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every half hour. Remember to use safe food handling guidelines by keeping the thawing fish isolated and cleaning everything it touches thoroughly afterward.
Do NOT try to defrost in the microwave. All you get then is partially cooked fish likely to dry out when you cook the rest of it. Also, do not thaw the fish on the kitchen counter. Once that fish gets warm it gets dangerous. And don’t refreeze thawed fish. Cook it as soon as possible once softened.
Now that you have your thawed fish, it’s time to cook.
Mexican Baked Fish
- 1 to 2 pounds of thawed fish fillets
- 1 cup salsa, jarred or homemade
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup crushed corn chips
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Press the water from the thawed fish fillets using paper towels. Attempt to get as dry as possible.
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Grease a baking dish.
- Lay the fillets in the dish and pour salsa over them. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and then top with the crushed corn chips. Don’t add more salt, but a couple grinds of black pepper would go well.
- Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
- Top with sour cream before serving.
This goes great with rice and beans.