Fish and shellfish are so versatile - there are so many delicious ways to cook and prepare them. Our handy guide below provides advice and tips on the best ways prepare and cook fish and shellfish.   

If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering eating more fish and shellfish - so now it’s time to help you increase your repertoire.

Whether you’re new to preparing fish and shellfish, or a more seasoned cook, sometimes we all lack the time or inspiration to think about different ways to prepare them. It’s human nature to stick to a good method or recipe once we discover it.

Fish and shellfish cooking is super-quick which means the loss of nutrients - like healthy omega-3 fats - during the process is minimised. This maximises the health benefits and also makes it a wonderfully convenient meal option.


Some preparation methods don’t even require “cooking” in the traditional sense: Ceviche - the national dish of Peru - is simply fresh fish marinated in citrus juices for a very short time before serving. This means you can have a nutritious tasty fish dish on the table in a matter of minutes.


Or how about sashimi? Our Loch Duart salmon and ChalkStream rainbow trout is sashmi-grade which means it can be eaten raw - why not try making futomaki?

When cooking certain types of fish, it's worth considering:

Thickness: one of the main things to consider is the size of the cut of fish – you can buy both prepared fillet portions and whole fillets from Nutritious Fish. Dry cooking methods like roasting, grilling, and baking are better for thicker cuts of fish, oily fish and whole fish.

Natural flavour: we believe some of the best ways to prepare fish are those that retain as much of the natural flavour – and nutrients – as possible. This is great if you lack time or cooking experience, as fish cookery can be very quick and simple. Certain fish and shellfish have a light natural flavour and some a stronger flavour – you really want to be choosing a method that complements this, rather than overwhelms it.

Fat content: leaner types of fish dry out more easily, which makes them better suited for wet cooking methods like steaming and poaching. More oily fish have a higher fat content and are ideal for grilling and roasting – and who doesn’t like crispy fish skin!


Skin off/on: talking of fish skin, whether you’re choosing to leave it on, or take it off, this can affect how you cook the fish. More delicate fish certainly benefit from being cooked skin-on as it prevents them falling apart. And sometimes it’s much easier to discard the skin after cooking than before – although removing the skin is quite easy - see below.

  • Grill

    Pre-heat grill to a medium setting. Some fish (e.g. turbot) will need to be turned halfway through cooking. Baste white fish during cooking.

  • Pan fry

    Get your pan on a medium heat. Score the fish skin with a sharp knife to prevent curling and help heat penetrate. Cook the fish skin side down - flip towards the end of cooking.

  • Roast/Bake

    Pre-heat your oven to 190°C. Place fish in a suitable dish, sprinkle with lemon juice, season, cover and place in the centre of the oven.

  • Poach

    Put around 100ml water and a  few drops of lemon juice in a saucepan. Add the fish and simmer gently for the recommended time.

  • Steam

    Place fish on a heatproof plate in a tiered saucepan steamer or in a bamboo steamer over a large pan of boiling water. Flat fish fillets can be rolled up to ensure even cooking. 

Fish cookery methods

Fish cookery timings

All the timings in the table below are in minutes and are a guideline as the thickness of fish and cooking appliance vary....   

Fish & shellfish preparation techniques

Use these handy videos and chef's guides to hone your prep techniques...

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Registered office address: Unit 5, Hove Enterprise Centre, Basin Road North, Brighton, East Sussex, BN41 1UY