Freshwater fish are a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), a vitamin B complex, and iron into your diet. But which kind of fish should you be getting? What size? How long does fish take to cook? Let’s dive into the science of fish and nutrition to find out the answers to these questions. (For more information on fish, see my book The Cleanse.)
The Best Kind Of Fish
Fish are a great source of protein and can be found in many different forms, from fresh to frozen. When you want to eat a certain type of fish, it’s best to select a brand that is raised in an environmentally sustainable manner. Here are the four best kinds of fish to choose based on your health needs.
Wild salmon is one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. You can find it fresh in the summertime or frozen in the winter. When selecting salmon, look for brands that are known for their sustainability practices.
Salmon are high in protein and low in cholesterol. They are also a good source of vitamin B and vitamin D, which are both essential for maintaining healthy bones. Eating salmon can help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. This fish was named the “Best Fish for Your Health” by the American Institute for Cancer Research. (A 2015 review published in the International Journal of Cancer revealed that the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may also help battle other types of cancer—such as prostate cancer—and heart disease.)
There are many different varieties of salmon, and each one has a subtle flavor that can be adjusted with fresh herbs, spices, and lemon juice. You can also try grilling or baking it, though the healthiest way to eat salmon is raw. Grilling or baking will only take the fish‘s oils out of its natural structure, meaning that fewer nutrients will be available for your body.
Rainbow trout is often considered the best of the best when it comes to fresh water fish. It’s high in protein and easily available in most supermarkets. Furthermore, much like salmon, rainbow trout is a good source of vitamins B and D, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones. Like salmon, rainbow trout is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. (In fact, some types of salmon and trout are even considered to be a food group all on their own.) It’s important to remember that the color of a fish determines the depth of the fat content, as the lighter the color, the more nutrients it will contain.
Rainbow trout has an incredible texture that can be used to its advantage. You can prepare it in a variety of ways, whether you’re baking it, frying it, or grilling it. And if you want to add even more flavor, try grilling or baking it with rosemary, lemon, or bay leaves.
Sprats, branzino, and sardines are often grouped together as “poor man’s caviar,” but they are very different from one another. While herring and sprats are both small fish, they are not the same thing. Sprats are usually prepared like flatfish, whereupon they are sliced into strips and cooked on a griddle. Branzino are a type of oceanic herring that can be prepared in the same way as trout.
Both sprats and herring are high in protein and low in cholesterol. Sprats are also a good source of vitamin B and vitamin D, which are both essential for maintaining healthy bones. Like salmon and trout, herring is a good source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which are both necessary for the human immune system and the formation of red blood cells. (In fact, some types of herring are even considered to be a food group all on their own.)
There are many different varieties of herring, and each one has a distinct flavor that can only be obtained by cooking it. The most well-known variety is Baltic herring, which is typically eaten cold with boiled potatoes and pickles. Other varieties can be fried, breaded, and grilled. (Check out my Revolucio recipe for Bratz wine-Braised Branzino for a great way to cook oceanic herring!)
Mackerel, also known as cefalorachius barbarus, is a type of fish that can be found in the open seas. It’s high in protein and low in cholesterol. It’s vitamin B and D are essential for maintaining healthy bones. However, mackerel is not exactly a pristine source of nutrients. It has a very strong fishy smell that some people can’t stand. (If that’s you, don’t purchase these types of fish.) Because of this, it’s usually eaten cold, on the grill, or baked. (It tastes a bit like an oyster.)
Mackerel is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and it has a lower saturated fat content than many other types of fish. This makes it a healthier option for those seeking to maintain a healthy heart. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy source of nutrients, this type of fish isn’t a bad choice. (Just make sure to purchase those labeled “sustainably caught” or “ethically sourced”.)
Choose The Right Size
When you purchase a fish, it is usually given the size that is convenient for you to carry home. Because most of them are rather small, it’s best to buy only what you need. For example, if you are cooking a whole one for dinner, then purchase a whole one. But if you are only cooking a bite-sized portion, then get a bite-sized portion.
If you are grilling it or baking it, then the best thing to do is to buy the right-sized portion. Begin by looking at the dimensions of your plate or tray. Then, subtract half of that from the length of the fish. The resulting amount will be your serving size. (You can also use this rule to determine the portions for other foods as well—such as chicken and pork.)
For instance, if you have a small plate or tray, then get a small piece of fish. If it’s a large plate or tray, then get a medium piece of fish. When placing the fish on your plate or tray, make sure to leave at least 2 inches of space between each piece. This will ensure that the fish does not stick to one another when cooking. Additionally, when removing the cooked fish from the oven or grill, make sure to let it rest for a few minutes before serving so that it stands up straight and does not break apart while warming up.
How Long Does Fish Take?
The amount of time that it takes fish to cook depends on multiple factors, including the size and thickness of the fish. Thicker and larger fish will take longer to cook than thinner and smaller ones. (Bigger or thicker fish are often associated with higher-quality ingredients that are more expensive.)
Additionally, the exact oven or grill temperature and the surface area of the food impact the time that it takes for food to get cooked. For example, if you grill a thin fish at high temperatures, then the fish will be done in a flash.
If you are new to grilling or baking, then start out simple and use an oven thermometer to check the temperature of your food. After a few tries, you will know precisely how hot your oven or grill should be to assure that the food gets cooked thoroughly without overcooking or burning it. (Check out my Revolucio recipe for a great way to learn how to grill and what types of food to prepare.)
The Key Ingredients
Certain ingredients make a big difference in the flavor and texture of your food. These ingredients should be chosen carefully, and only the best should be used. Some of the most important ones are listed here.