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I have always cooked fish in the oven. I don’t know why. That’s the way my mother cooked fish. That’s what most of my recipes have called for.
After a recent blog about cod, Basma sent this comment, “Never ever cook fish in the oven. It turns out dry and tastes awful. I always cook fish (any kind) in a non-stick saucepan. I add some olive oil, brown the fish on one side, flip it over and then add the juice of one lemon and let it simmer on a low heat in the juice until all the juice is absorbed and the fish is browned and moist. Add spices like Cajun and it becomes a very yummy fish indeed.”
Her enthusiasm alone made me want to try this as soon as possible. A few days later I was at the store looking for something to fix for dinner that night. Mahi Mahi was on special. This – I knew instantly – would be the ultimate test for pan vs oven cooking.
You see, eight or ten years ago I had read about what a great tasting fish Mahi Mahi was. One night, when we were having company for dinner, I bought a Mahi Mahi fillet. I cooked it and served it with a flourish. It was terrible. Dry, tough, tasteless. I was embarrassed. I was also irritated - Mahi Mahi was expensive.
Last summer in South Carolina, our son recommended Mahi Mahi fish tacos. I said, “no way.” But he insisted and I tried them. I had to admit, they were delicious.
I decided to try Basma’s cooking method on Mahi Mahi. I had two things going for me this time. (1) the fish was on sale and (2) my husband and I would be alone for dinner. The experiment would not be expensive or embarrassing.
I followed her instructions, except I was out of lemons. Oh Mahi, it was good - tender, flavorful, very enjoyable. Even the leftovers two days later were acceptable. I can imagine that lemons would make it even better. I have become a fan of pan cooked fish.
I've cooked fish on the stove. I've cooked fish in the oven. Now you've done both, too. Why the extremism? What's wrong with both?
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