Seafood Cooking Methods

The cooking methods used for fish typically involve dry heat and moist heat cooking methods. It is easy to learn all of the methods described below.

Dry heat cooking involves applying heat either directly by flame, or indirectly by surrounding it with heated air or heated fat. Dry cooking methods work best with sturdier fish that have low to moderate fat content. Dry methods of cooking include:

  • Grilling
  • Broiling
  • Sautéing
  • Pan-frying
  • Stir-frying

Grilling uses direct heat from underneath the meat— either a gas burning flame or smoldering coals. Oil the grate to prevent sticking and season the meat before grilling. Grill marks add visual appeal to the fish. Grilling is ideal for firm fish, such as salmon.

Broiling involves radiant heat from an overhead source, typically inside a conventional oven. It is recommended to place fish on an oiled broiler pan. This method is best for thinner fish cuts.

Baking involves moderate, radiant heat from all directions, typically done in an oven. Most fish can be baked; thicker cuts can be baked in a cooking sauce, such as diced tomatoes, or marinara sauce.

Deep-frying is a method that involves fully immersing the food in hot oil. Generally an item is battered or breaded first.

Sautéing and pan-frying is best for thinner types of fish and involves cooking over high heat in an oiled pan.

Stir-frying is a variation of sautéing done with chunks of fish in a wok pan, with a sauce added at the end.

Moist heat cooking is using a hot liquid such as water, broth, wine or a combination of all three.

Steaming and simmering are the two moist cooking methods for fish and shellfish.

  • Steaming: Steaming cooks food in a moist environment by way of steaming water or other flavorful liquid. This helps to preserve moisture and cooks food gently.
  • Simmering or poaching: Fully or partially immersing food in a liquid, just below a boil.

Cooking Lobster

Lobster tails are the most popular form of lobster prepared at home. Follow these guidelines to bake or grill them.

  • To butterfly the lobster tails, use kitchen shears to make a lengthwise cut through the hard top shell. Wearing clean gardening gloves will also protect your hands.
  • Using a chef’s knife, cut the tail meat in half lengthwise, slice through the meat but not through the bottom shell.
  • Open the lobster like a book.
  • When grilling or baking, place the lobster cut-side down on the grill or baking pan.
  • Use butter or oil to baste the lobster.
  • Grill or bake for 5-9 minutes.
  • To remove the lobster meat, pull it out of the shell in one piece.
  • Serve with plenty of butter for dipping.