Canned tuna is an easy and versatile pre-cooked fish that is loved by people on the go as well as those who have time to savor their food. It comes in a variety of can and pouch sizes that make serving food for a crowd or individual portions easy. Tuna packed in water has a lighter, fresher taste while tuna packed in oil has a richer mouth-feel. In either case, drain the tuna thoroughly before adding it to recipes and use a fork to flake it to a consistency you like.
Catfish is a mild, sweet-tasting fish with moderately firm flesh that can be purchased fresh from the market as a skinless fillet. In the South, it is popularly breaded in cornmeal and deep-fried, which produces a crispy fillet. You may reduce the portion size by cutting the fillet into strips to serve either as an appetizer or as a finger-food for kids.
Briny and sweet with a hint of seawater-taste, clams offer a tender chew to many recipes. They may be cooked and served whole if small, or chopped and served as a component of a dish if larger.
Soft-shell clams may require a few rinses in cool, running water or a soak in seawater to rid them of sand, while hard-shell clams usually require little more than a brief rinse before they are ready to cook. Discard all clams that do not close when tapped on their shell or that have not opened after cooking-this means that the clam is dead and should not be eaten.
Cod is a delicate, sweet tasting fish that is usually available for purchase as a skinless fillet or, less often, as a seafood steak. Its mild flesh readily takes on the taste of added seasonings, so use them lightly to start.
The types of crab sold in the United States differ in size and appearance, but most have sweet, rich meat and are delicious when served in numerous preparations. Crab is commonly available for purchase alive; in pieces- refrigerated, canned, or frozen; and frozen whole. Each form has a different use and may be more readily available in certain regions than others.
The two varieties of Pollock, Alaskan and Atlantic, are similar enough so that either may be used in most recipes. Although there is a difference in texture- Alaskan Pollock tends to be less firm than Atlantic. This only really matters if grilling, in which case you may want to take advantage of the firmer, slightly oilier texture of the Atlantic because it holds up well to high heat.
Salmon has a unique earthy flavor and silky, rich texture that lends itself to a variety of preparations and cooking methods. One of the simplest ways to use salmon involves no cooking of the fish itself. Smoked salmon is fully cooked and delicious served with fresh green salads, eaten with cream cheese and bagels, or prepared as an appetizer spread. For an easy variation on your favorite tuna recipes, try canned salmon (another popular no-cook product), or use a mixture of the two.
The sweet and creamy scallop is one of the more popular mollusks sold in the United States-probably because it is such a versatile ingredient in so many dishes. Sea scallops may be cooked with great success using almost any cooking method. Bay scallops, however, are smaller and more delicate-they are best when quickly sautéed.
Shrimp are beloved for their mild, sweet flavor and firm, juicy texture. They are a versatile ingredient in almost any recipe-from appetizer to main dish-because they can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques.
One of the simplest methods of cooking is simply to boil or steam shrimp. Serve them, once cooled, with a dipping sauce as an appetizer. Or, add them to a side salad for an easy lunchtime entrée. For added ease, purchase pre-cooked shrimp from your seafood counter or frozen seafood aisle.
Tilapia is a popular freshwater fish that is commonly farm-raised. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste. To lessen any slightly "muddy" flavors, soak the tilapia in buttermilk for an hour before cooking. When you are ready to cook the tilapia, simply rinse it and continue with the recipe.