Fish That Don’t Taste Like Fish (or When Bland is Best)

Another great question by a supporter of “I want to find out more about fish that taste less like fish and more like…???” So, we take it you want to eat fish but pretend you are eating a chicken ‘finger’? Okay, we get your pickle: You like chicken but want the health benefits of seafood? That’s one guess. Our other guess is that you have been buying stinky fish (or fish that isn’t the freshest!).
Don’t feel freakish just because underwater things with slimy skin or snuggled in mud don’t appeal to you. We know you’re not alone. Here’s your guide to health and happiness as you hunt for the perfect “un-fish.”
Two rules, two rules of thumb, two hot tips, and two good bets:
Rule 1. If you’re having trouble with fish, the number one thing is to make sure it’s really, really FRESH fish.
Rule 2. Buy your fresh fish from the best store you can afford. (Usually, this also means that the people selling the fish know everything about their products!).
Rule of Thumb 1. Freshwater fish is generally milder; saltwater fish tends toward a stronger “fish” taste.
Rule of Thumb 2. Stick to white-colored fish fillets.
Tip 1: Sniff first. If you pick up a whiff of “fishy-ness,” don’t buy it. Fresh fish will smell like a refreshing splash of seawater.
Tip 2: Try sushi. Surprisingly, those who don’t like fish often like sushi. Sushi HAS to be fresh.
Best bet: Tilapia — This mild, almost tasteless fish accepts seasonings and marinades well. Try “Tilapia Vera Cruz,” a recipe created by Chef Gregory Fedderson for Passionfish’s upcoming cookbook:
Other runners-up that are mild tasting (listed alphabetically):
Orange Roughy
Red Snapper
Shrimp (and prawns)
White Sea Bass
It may be that part of the reason you dislike fish is due to its soft texture. Try scallops— their firmness is like steak. Try this delicious and easy-to-prepare scallop recipe by Passionfish’s own Director of Culinary Education, Gerard Viverito (Certified Executive Chef), “Thai-style scallops”: Beautiful food imagery is by our very talented colleague, Diane Padys.
Or look for those recipes for baked fish with a crispy coating. This will make seafood more palatable for those squeamish of you converting from, say, chicken fingers or chicken-fried steaks. Try seafood recipes calling for a dip in Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs. Those tasty bread crumbs will expand your repertoir from the usual Corn Flakes!
Here are two great recipes for different white fish:
Seared Seabass w/Garlic – Seabass is a firm fish with refreshing flavor. The texture really lets you b-i-t-e into something. This recipe has 184 calories per serving and is quick to prepare.
Halibut Provencal How about those tomatoes? Full of healthy anti-oxidants (a good thing!). This recipe has 263 calories per serving and takes a little time to prepare.
There is an excellent, brand-new book on the market by Margaret Wittenberg, a Global Vice President at Whole Foods, called “New Good Food: Essential Ingredients for Cooking and Eating Well.” Amid 283-pages of gems, you can find a fantastic, well-researched and well-written chapter on seafood. Check it out. It’s published by the ultra-creative, excellence-standard-setting and prolific Berkeley, Calif., publisher Ten Speed Press, 2007. On shelves now! It’s also available, naturally, at Whole Foods
We like Whole Foods a whole lot. We have partnered with local stores several times for community events promoting healthy seafood caught or raised in sustainable ways.
We end this blog with a fun quote:
“Fish and visitors smell in three days.”
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736
US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, and printer (1706 – 1790)
Take a look at this story on for more information.
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1 comment so far

Very interesting info! We are going to have to try tilapia!

Cindi T.
October 19th, 2007 at 7:53 pm

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