Don’t like eating fish? Sorry to break it to you but you’re missing out on a lot of health benefits.
Fish is not only a natural source of high-quality protein – but it’s also a good source of vitamins, including B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin A, and minerals such as selenium, zinc, iodine, and iron. They are rich in good Omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for healthy development of mind and body.
Fish is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat too. That’s good news if you want to lose weight the healthy way.
If you want to finally include fish into your diet (or you know someone who needs to), here are 7 effective ways to trick the senses to love fish.
1. Steer clear of the “fishy” fish (for now)
Omega-3 fatty acids are what make these fish mega-healthy. But fishes with high doses are often the stinky ones.
If you’re trying to convert a solid fish hater into a fish eater, start with the ones with less fishy smell and taste. Arctic char, flounder, catfish, and rainbow trout are mild. Tilapia also has an almost neutral flavor. Stick to these less pungent swimmers for now while you train your palate to love fish.
And if you’re ready, try the oily and more pungent, yet healthiest fishes. Fatty types of fish, like salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel, may be smelly but they’re the healthiest among their species.
2. Go boneless
A lot of peeps have sworn to abandon fish for good not because of the unpleasant smell and taste – but because of small yet deadly fish bones. They probably have had a traumatic experience with fish bones that got badly stuck in their throat.
That said, opt for boneless. There are a lot of easy to cook (and easy to eat) recipes using fish fillets, flakes, and boneless steaks that allow you to consume fish with ease and peace of mind.
3. Use chemistry to de-stink the fish
When preparing and cooking, you can use some of these tricks to reduce the unpleasant smell and fishy taste.
- Washing it with cold water. A quick rinse in cold water not only reduces the odor but also removes most of the bacteria and trimethylamine (TMA).
- Brining. Soaking in a salt solution prior to cooking also helps reduce the odor and fishy taste of the fish.
- Soaking it in milk. Casein, a protein found in milk, effectively binds to the TMA and leave the fish smelling fresh as ever. Let it soak for 10 to 20 minutes before cooking. You can also cook it with milky sauces, like coconut milk.
- Using acid. Same with the logic of making fresh oysters taste tolerable with lemon, you can de-stink the fish by cooking it fish in an acidic liquid, like lemon juice or a vinegar-based mix, or using sour dips.
- Baking. Oven baking the fish is the best way to minimize the smelly smell. The worst way, in terms of the fishy factor, is by pan frying or cooking it in the microwave.
- Use flavored oils and a blowtorch. Putting healthy flavored oils (like olive oils infused with lemon, chili, garlic, and herbs) and cooking with the blowtorch help seal the flavors and eliminate odor.
4. Be cunning in hiding it among ingredients
Picky eaters, especially children, won’t eat fish presented on its own, staring at them with dead eyes and open mouth. Hiding it among other tasty ingredients will help get people to eat more.
Sneak it into the meal. Think fillets and flakes, which are easy to hide in pasta sauces, soups, sandwich spreads, and fried rice. You can also make fish more bearable for non-eaters with tasty dips, sauces, and dressings.
Go for seafood dishes with robust flavors and visual appeal. Let the flavors and looks take over, to the point you’re forgetting you’re eating something fishy. Hide it among coconut milk, vibrant curry paste, fresh green herbs, and chilies and peppers which are both rich in taste and in color.
5. Swap classic favorites with seafood alternatives
Go for fish fillet tacos and burgers instead of traditional meat fillings. Swap chicken fingers and fries for fish sticks or fish and chips. How about some Spanish Sardines pasta instead of your classic meatball spaghetti?Giving a classic favorite some fresh-from-the-sea twist isn’t bad at all.
6. Try other kinds of seafood
If fishes aren’t really for you, there are other sea critters to try. Other kinds of seafood include mollusks (mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, squids, and octopuses), crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, lobsters), and echinoderms (sea urchin).
They are excellent lean protein options, making them worth exchanging for meat. Seafood curry, crab cakes, shrimp Aglio olio, clam chowder, tempura, baked oysters, and Paella are some of the most popular seafood dishes in the world.
7. Take plating and presentation up a notch
Sushi is one of the leading when it comes to seafood presentation. They’re art pieces on a plate, especially when they are mixed. Another creative take on seafood is Paella – vibrant, full-bodied, and delectable.
The idea is to make it look appetizing on the plate. Research on fish and other seafood recipes that aren’t only delicious but visually appealing as well. Think of soups, stews, curries, pasta and rice dishes, and other recipes with the right amount of spice and vivid looks. Learn garnishing and plating techniques from the experts too.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is a passionate daytime writer for Manettas Seafood Market, an online and interactive seafood hub which provides customers a true, first-class fish market experience without leaving home. Since she’s a seafood lover herself, she’s got a lot to say about food, well-being, and lifestyle.