Afraid to Serve Fish at Home? We've Got Answers to Help You Get Cooking

Too smelly, too expensive, too, well, fishy? If these are a few of the reasons you’re not serving seafood at home, we’ve got five recipes that will conquer your family’s fears.

1 of 6

Thai-Style Mussels

fresh thai-style mussels in bowl

Photo by Christopher Testani

Photo by Christopher Testani

Reason: “It’s too expensive.”

Not all fish is pricey. Fresh mussels, sold in 2-pound bags for around $5 apiece, are a great choice. One bag feeds 4 to 6 people, especially when served with rice, potatoes or anything that will soak up the to-die-for cooking sauce.

Tip: To clean mussels, rinse in cold water and use a paring knife to carefully remove any “strings,” called a beard. Discard those that won’t close when tapped. Store in the fridge until cooking. 

Makes 6
Prep 15 m
Cook 25 m

2 of 6

Mango Crab Cake Sliders

crab cake sliders with mango

Photo by Christopher Testani

Photo by Christopher Testani

Reason: “My picky eater won’t try anything new.”

Fry it up! Our fix for the unadventurous: Bread it, pan-fry it and sandwich it in a bun. Nearly fool-proof.

Makes 5
Prep 15 m
Refrigerate 10 m
Cook 20 m

3 of 6

Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

grilled swordfish with salsa on plate

Photo by Christopher Testani

Photo by Christopher Testani

Reason: “I don’t like the mushy texture.”

Go for a firmer fish. Try something “steakier,” like swordfish or tuna. Both are great grilled!

Tip: Download Seafood Watch, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s app, which tells you everything you need to know about buying fish, from the most sustainable options in your area to wild vs farmed.

Makes 4
Prep 10 m
Grill 9 m

4 of 6

Asian-Style Pacific Cod

asian pacific cod in parchment paper

Photo by Christopher Testani

Photo by Christopher Testani

Reason: “It makes my house smell.”

No problem. The easiest way to avoid fishy odors is by baking in parchment. Also makes cleanup a breeze.

Makes 4
Prep 15 m
Bake 10 m

5 of 6

Arctic Char with Chermoula

arctic char topped with chermoula sauce

Photo by Christopher Testani

Photo by Christopher Testani

Reason: “It has a fishy flavor.”

Look for milder flavors. Opt for mild arctic char paired with a bold sauce like chermoula, made with herbs and Moroccan spices.

Tip: Eating fish twice a week improves brain development, thanks to omega-3 fatty acids. It also may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Makes 4
Prep 10 m
Broil 6 m

6 of 6

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fresh fish

Photo by Kritsada Panichgul

Photo by Kritsada Panichgul


1. Look for fillets that spring back when lightly touched. They shouldn’t flake or be sitting in water.

2. Fish should smell like the sea, not like low tide.

3. Cook within 2 to 3 days. 

On ice

Frozen is a great option. It’s often cheaper, already cleaned and portioned. And unless locally caught, most “fresh” fish has been flash-frozen and defrosted. Companies like Sea to Table ( and Thrive Market ( deliver sustainable options right to your door. Sampler boxes begin at $30 for 6 servings. 

From fridge or freezer to table

  • To defrostA few days before cooking, place frozen fish on a dish and refrigerate. Or, for a faster method, place in a sealed plastic bag and submerge in cold water for a couple of hours. Pat dry completely before cooking. 
  • Quick fix: Shrimp—whether sautéed, grilled or broiled—cooks in about 5 minutes; thin to medium-thin fish fillets need only a few minutes more. You’ll know seafood is done when it’s fully opaque and fillets flake easily with a fork.