These are recipes for the typical sort of fish you will see in a market or go out and catch yourself. “Normal” fish, meaning fish without extra sets of bones, that don’t have common food prejudices against them, are unusually ugly, slimy or otherwise visually disadvantaged. Recipes for these more unusual fish can be found here.
Keep in mind that these species designations are merely suggestions. One of the beauties of fish cookery is that you can always sub in one fish for another. So look at the recipes first, then the fish species.
And all my salmon and trout recipes are on a different page — I have so many they needed on. For salmon and trout recipes, click here.
Some baseline techniques you will find useful as you come across various fish and seafood. Many of these apply to so many different kinds of seafood it’s worth compiling them here.
How to Catch Pacific Rockfish
Before you can cook fish, you need to catch it. My tips and techniques on catching bottom fish, especially Pacific rockfish.
How to Fillet a Flounder or Halibut
Halibut, fluke, flouder, sole. This is how you fillet them. It’s simple, different from a regular fish.
Beer Battered Fish and Chips
This is a basic fish and chips recipe you can use with any firm fish. Halibut, cod, haddock, redfish, walleye, perch, catfish, lingcod, shark… you get the picture.
Baja California-style fried fish tacos you can use any white, firm fish to make. These are lightly battered, like tempura, and served with your favorite taco accompaniments.
How to Make Ceviche Safely
Ceviche is great, and it works with all sorts of fish and seafood, but you need to know some things to make it safely.
A Simple Fried Fish Sandwich
Who doesn’t love a fish sandwich? I used Pacific rockfish for this, but any lean, firm, white fish would work.
Butter Poached Fish
Poaching a fish in butter or oil is a wonderful way to enjoy a lean fish and actually taste its subtlety. A good skill to learn.
Simple Grilled Whole Fish
Grilling a whole fish is an important skill to know. It requires a clean, hot grill, some oil, and lots of finesse.
BBQ Fish, Fish on the Barbecue
Most fish can be barbecued, slow and low. It’s a great technique to learn.
Crispy Fried Whole Fish
This is what I do with whole bass-like fish, such as rock cod, bass, seabass, crappies, big bluegills, croakers, etc. This particular recipe is a light and fresh Asian take on a whole fried fish.
Grilled Redfish on the ‘Half Shell’
This is how you grill fillets from large fish that have large scales, i.e., redfish or large rockfish or seabass — with the skins and scales on. It’s a good technique to master.
How to Butterfly a Fish
This is how I butterfly and debone small fish like trout and small bass. You can either prep them for the pan, or for stuffing.
Perfect Seared Fish
How to pan-sear fish fillets, skin on or skinless, perfectly every time. It’s not hard, but there are a few tricks to it.
Saffron Halibut with Salsa Verde
Saffron brined halibut seared simply and served with an Italian salsa verde. You can skip the saffron and it’ll still be wonderful.
Yep, you can eat halibut raw in this Hawaiian salad — just freeze it first. Every bit as good as ceviche… maybe better.
Puttanesca Sauce with Halibut
An old school Italian way to served very firm fish like halibut or swordfish or shark steaks. You need a thick, firm fish you can cut into cubes for this dish.
Nordic Fish Chowder
You can use halibut for this Scandinavian take on chowder, but really any lean fish works, and it’s better with some seafood added in, too.
Vietnamese Crispy Fish with Cilantro
While I used halibut for this recipe, any firm white fish will work: Catfish would be traditional. It’s a very simple weeknight recipe that carries a ton of flavor!
Thai Fish Curry
A classic Thai green curry, good with any firm fish. I designed this recipe for halibut, but I’ve used a lot of other firm fish here, too.
STRIPED BASS or WHITE SEABASS
Seabass with Honey and Ouzo
Quite possibly my favorite fish recipe ever. Sweet, salty and fried. I could eat this every week.
I do this dish with any white fish, but striped bass is especially good. The secret to this dish is the broth you cook the rice in.
Grilled Fish Collars
Don’t waste the collars on your big fish! I almost always do this with striped bass, but any large fish will work with this recipe. Grilled, these meaty, fatty bits are like pickin’ chicken bones, only better.
Tuna with Red Pepper Sauce
While you could use any tuna — or any firm fish — with this recipe, I designed it for bonito, a dark, rich tuna that can handle this spicy sauce from the Portuguese islands.
Grilled Tuna Steaks Sicilian Style
A Sicilian way to grill tuna, served with a simple salad that is fantastic. Works with any firm fish, not just tuna.
Sicilian Tuna Meatballs
Another Sicilian tuna recipe, this one is perfect for the tail ends of the tuna, which are pretty tough. Grind the trim off a tuna and you will not waste anything. And fear not: These meatballs are not “fishy” at all — they are shockingly meaty.
My tutorial on How to Fillet A Northern Pike, on Game & Fish Magazine’s site.
A Northwoods classic. Think of this as ceviche, only from Scandinavia.
Fish Cakes with Wild Rice
I do these Midwestern style fish cakes with pike, but any firm, white fish will work. Hell, you could even use trout if you wanted to.
A German-inspired pike soup with root vegetables, wild rice and a special broth.
Pike Dumplings in Broth
Dumplings made of pike (or any other fish) that are light and lovely. The can be served in lots of ways, but I like this mushroom broth.
A modern, sustainable take on the 1980s classic, blackened redfish. Of course if you catch your own redfish, you can use this recipe, too.
Sichuan Catfish with Garlic
An awesome sweet-spicy way to serve catfish. And yes, this dish is loaded with garlic, so beware.
Vietnamese Claypot Catfish
One of the most iconic catfish recipes in the world, this Vietnamese classic is especially good with smaller catfish like bullheads or channel cats.
Seared Fish and Asparagus
Any fish will work with this lovely, light, springtime recipe. I used sturgeon here, but use your imagination.
Lake Erie Perch Chowder
A classic fish chowder with a Great Lakes flair: Sour cream, dill and Polish kielbasa. It is fantastic with any firm, white fish.
East African Fish Stew
Sort of a curry stew with fish from East Africa. Easy to make yet exotic tasting.
Sweet and Sour Fish
I normally make this with Pacific rock cod or lingcod, but any firm, white fish will work. It’s a little like General Tso’s chicken you get at Chinese places, but a little zipper.
Vietnamese Smoked Fish Salad
You can make this with pretty much any smoked fish. It’s a light, tasty salad that’s best in hot weather.
Basque Cod al Pil Pil
A classic Basque recipe that combines just a few ingredients into a magical sauce.
Southern Fish and Grits
Tripletail has a meaty texture like grouper, but any firm fish works with this Southern classic.
Tripletail Ooh La La
A little bit French, a little bit Alabama, this is a fun recipe for tripletail or any firm white fish.
Fried Speckled Trout with Black-eyed Peas
A simple fried fish with a nice Southern-style salad of black-eyed peas, turnip or mustard greens, roasted red peppers, and yep, a bit of bacon. Any white fish will work here.
Kelp Pasta with Rockfish
A dish that looks fancier than it is. If you use regular pasta, this is an easy recipe that works great with Pacific rockfish, lingcod, or any firm, white fish.
Red Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes
A light, fresh summertime dish you can do with Pacific rock cod, lingcod, snapper, grouper or any bass-like fish. Walleye and smallmouth bass is a good inland fish to use, too.
German Fish Balls with Green Sauce
Fish meatballs German style, gently poached and served with a tangy, herby green sauce.
Fried Red Snapper Bites
Chunks of snapper or other firm fish, breaded with Saltines and fried, then served with New Orleans remoulade.
Dorado or Mahi Mahi with Cilantro
A classic Mexican recipe for snapper or dorado. The key is lots of fresh cilantro to make a vivid green sauce. Green jalapenos add some bite, too.
Smoked Bluefish Pate
Smoked bluefish mashed into a rough pate or rillette, this is a winner on crackers. One of my go-to appetizers when I can get my hands on bluefish. Mackerel, wahoo, skipjack tuna or jacks work well here, too.
Fried Asian Fish Balls
Sometimes, when you catch fish in warm water, they can be mushy. This happened to me with some crappies. So I decided to chop up the fillets and make them into Asian-style meatballs — deep-fried, of course.
Grilled Rock Cod with Basil
Oftentimes rock cod, perch or black seabass are too small to really fillet properly without losing too much meat. My answer, especially in summer, is to grill them whole with an herby dressing.