Illustration: The Flawsome Family Mealbook

Let’s be honest, fish can be fiddly and even people who enjoy eating it often hate cooking it. But it’s such a spectacular protein it’s a shame not to give it a go beyond crumbed frozen fillets or occasional restaurant meal.

I was reminded of this last night as I served up some barramundi, green beans and oven fries…because I have a family of reluctant fish eaters who need a potato chip reward!

My mum also loved eating fish but hated to cook fish. The pic on this post is my illustration from The Flawsome Family Mealbook that goes with a story about her feelings on fish and one of her funny poems about families catching fish.

Even though I grew up in a fish-catching house, the cooking side of fish freaked me out a bit in the early days too, but here are some things I’ve learned and I’d love to add more if you’d like to share in the comments.

7 ways to cook unyucky fish

  • The less you do to cook fish, the better. It’s much easier – and tidier – to dip fish in flour (flavour it with dried herbs or spices if you like) than any kind of crumb or batter. Do yourself a favour and take the simpler path so you’re less stressed and in a better mindset to enjoy the meal.
  • Citrus and fish are best friends for more reasons than flavour. A squeeze of lemon or lime juice in the pan when you fry fish will also really cut that fishy smell down. We eat with all our senses and cooking smells reach us earlier than tastes, usually.
  • Do you hate how fish sticks to the BBQ plate or fry pan? Cook it on a layer of baking paper! The paper won’t burn and your fish will still turn golden, I promise.
  • Fish in a bag or wrapped in foil is one of the best – and least messy – ways you can cook fish. Check out this BBQ Lime Fish Parcel recipe in a recent Members’ Once-A-Week Cook Plan.
  • Baking fish sounds simple but can be hard to judge for ‘doneness’. Try an easy, budget friendly sauced oven bake and you’ll be safe and delicious.
  • Kids say they hate fish? Make fresh fish fingers (try this gluten free version), or make fritters with the milder (and cheaper) pink tinned salmon. With fillets, stick with fresh salmon for a while. Lots of kids seem happier with the colour, texture, smell and flavour of salmon – maybe the colour is more friendly? Bonus points for a quick coat of teriyaki sauce and some sesame seeds after it’s cooked.
  • Find your nearest co-op or fresh seafood outlet and trust them to pick the freshest fish you can afford. Seriously: tell them your budget and how many people you’re feeding and ask their advice on what to buy and how to cook it. I’ve learned so much from co-op crews!

Go fish!

Looking for more fish recipes? Use the Recipe Search box on each page of this website – there are at least 150 posts from UnYucky and MamaBake with one or more family friendly fish dish on each.

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