Flavor Files: Rubs, Condiments and Marinades Perfect for Fish


How to Maximize Spices and Herbs for Dynamic Seafood Menus

The right marinade, rub or condiment combination on a piece of fish can elevate it from good to great real fast. Plus, using the right flavor mixes keeps your menu selection dynamic and allows you to eat fish on a regular basis, without it ever getting monotonous. So, here’s a quick primer on how to love up your fillets with a variety of flavors that never bore.

Salmon



Soy-Maple Glazed 

Soy sauce, garlic, and maple syrup make for a no-fuss, sweet and savory marinade fit for sockeye. Follow this recipe, but let your salmon fillets marinate in your glaze for a half hour in the refrigerator before you pop it into the oven to give it an extra dose of flavor.

Curry-Spiced 

The richness of wild salmon can withstand strong spice combo blends, so it’s a great fish to use if you’re looking to serve up an Indian-inspired meal. Try coating the fillet with curry powder, minced garlic, and freshly chopped cilantro, and rubbing the mixture into the salmon with a bit of olive oil. Then, bake it in the oven. Serve with steaming, hot basmati rice. 



Barbecued 

A hearty fish that won’t fall apart when handled, salmon is well-suited for the grill. Grab your favorite bottle of barbecue sauce, a basting brush, and glaze up your fillet as it cooks over hot coals (or on a grill pan indoors). 



Halibut

Oven-Roasted with Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri makes for a flavorful paste that you can blend together up to a day beforehand for an easy, halibut dinner; the mild flavor of the flaky, white fillet is the perfect vessel for an herbaceous blend of ingredients. This recipe tweaks a classic formula for chimichurri, traditionally served with meats, so that it won’t overpower the fish. Serve up hot or at room temperature with extra chimichurri paste on the side.

Blackened

A thick fillet of halibut is begging to be rubbed in blackening spice. Sear both sides of your fillet in a hot pan before baking it through in the oven. The tender, white interior of the fish is a beautiful contrast to the crisp, spiced char coating the exterior.

Cumin-Chili Rubbed 

A Mexican-inspired spice blend of ground cumin, chili, and a hint of smoked paprika is a warm, spicy way to dress up your halibut. Pat the fillet dry and season with salt and pepper before applying the rub. Bake until the halibut flakes easily with a fork. Serve with a wedge of lime and, if you have it, spicy mango salsa.

Cod

Miso-Glazed 

While wild Alaskan cod isn’t the same catch used in the miso-glazed black cod dish that Nobu launched to fame — black “cod” is actually sablefish, not cod at all — you can still make a gourmet, miso-glazed meal of it. Classic recipes for miso-glazed black cod may call for several days of marination, but if substituting leaner Alaskan cod (sablefish has much higher fat content), cut marination time down to under an hour and keep a close eye on the doneness of your fish; it’ll cook up faster than black cod.

Oil-Poached with Herbs

The delicate flavor and texture of cod is well-suited to be cooked in a low-temp oven, dressed liberally with a Mediterranean medley of olive oil, minced parsley, garlic, and capers. The lean, white fillets will come out of the oven succulent and, garnished with a slice of lemon, and totally instagram-worthy.

Five-Spice Pan-Fried 

Pan-fried cod doesn’t have to be relegated to a basket of fish and chips. As in this recipe, try rubbing the cod with Chinese five spice powder, fresh minced garlic, then dredge in flour (any kind you prefer) before adding to a pan of hot cooking oil. Fry until golden brown and serve with rice or noodles.

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