An excellent source of lean protein and packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fish is a natural choice on the South Beach Diet. Fish is not only delicious, but it’s also versatile — there are a number of healthy ways to prepare it. Here are five cooking techniques that will help you add more fish to your diet.
You can grill fish:
Grilling cooks fish fast and keeps it tender, juicy, and flavorful. Season the fish with a variety of dried and fresh herbs and spices, and garnish it with a lemon slice for a hint of citrus. With a basting brush, lightly oil the fish with a little extra-virgin olive or canola oil so it won’t stick to the grill. Fish usually cooks up on the grill in 10-20 minutes. Use a two-prong fork to poke the interior of the fish; if the inside is no longer translucent and it flakes easily, the fish is cooked.
You can sauté fish:
Works with any type of skinless fish fillet. First, season the fish as desired. Then heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fish for 2 to 3 minutes per side per 3/4 inch of thickness. (The thicker the fish, the longer the cooking time.)
You can poach fish:
Works best with firm-fleshed fish fillets or steaks. Place the fish in a saucepan or deep skillet and add enough fish stock, water, or wine (on later Phases) to barely cover the fish, along with seasonings of your choice, such as herbs or onions. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat (do not boil). Simmer the fish for 10 minutes or until the center is opaque. Remove the fish with a slotted spatula. You can use the fish stock or water poaching liquid to make a Phase 1 sauce; use the wine poaching liquid to make a Phase 2 sauce.
You can bake fish:
Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange seasoned fish fillets on the baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. It's not necessary to flip the fish.
You can broil fish:
Works with any type of fish steak. Season the steaks and brush with extra-virgin olive oil. Place them on a broiler-pan rack and broil 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until just opaque in the center. Allow more cooking time for steaks thicker than an inch.
How do you know whether your fish is done?
Simply test with a fork at its thickest point. Perfectly cooked fish should be opaque and flake easily when tested with a fork. Undercooked fish looks raw. Salmon and tuna are the exception, as both can be served pink on the inside as long as they are very fresh. Note: To maintain freshness and taste, make sure to thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator — not at room temperature, under warm water, or in the microwave.