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The Best White Fish Recipes (Also, What's White Fish?)

Health experts tell us we should be eating more fish. And we're all for it. We seek out salmon, trout, tuna, cod, halibut, and mackerel. But sometimes a recipe calls simply for "white fish." If you're not familiar with the family of fish called "white fish," the term refers to any white-fleshed fish like cod, tilapia, flounder, sole, halibut, snapper, catfish, haddock, and grouper. When cooked, the flesh of white fish is dry and flaky rather than oily and firm like salmon, mackerel, or tuna. A general category like white fish has its upside: When a recipe calls for "any type of white fish," it frees you to make choices at the market based on what's freshest or what's the better bargain (tilapia is typically an inexpensive choice). We love the versatility.

Now, to confuse matters slightly, in rare cases, a recipe that calls for "whitefish" may be referring to a specific freshwater fish found in the Great Lakes, which is called "whitefish" and is often smoked. However, that's not really what we're talking about here. We're talking about the versatile, white-fleshed, non oily fish called out above. Here are some of our best white fish recipes.

The Best Recipes for White Fish

1. Quick and Easy Baked Fish Fillet

"We love boating here in the Hamptons in NY," says JOAN. "Fluke (summer flounder) fishing is one of our favorite past times. The water is so clean you can actually watch the fish going to the hook. With fresh fish, we enjoy very basic, tasty recipes. This is a keeper!" As the cook notes, "Any white fish can be used in place of the flounder."

Quick and Easy Baked Fish Fillet

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

2. Fish Filet in Thai Coconut Curry Sauce

"You can use any type of fish filet for this delicious curry dish like halibut, tilapia, or cod," says barbara. "I have also cooked chicken in the same curry sauce before. Serve with plenty of rice."

Fish Filet in Thai Coconut Curry Sauce

Photo by barbara

3. Paleo Poached Whitefish in Tomato-Fennel Broth

Here's a poached whitefish recipe that's friendly for paleo people and easy to make, too! Chris Denzer recommends "any firm, white-fleshed fish, like halibut or cod."

Paleo Poached Whitefish in Tomato-Fennel Broth

Photo by Joey Joan

4. Parmesan Black Cod with Arugula and Tomato Topping

Richard Denker says, "This has become our favorite fish recipe. Besides being very tasty, it is a quick and easy recipe. We use black cod (US name) or sablefish. Pollock can be used. Serve with Pinot Gris and French bread."

Parmesan Black Cod with Arugula and Tomato Topping

Photo by CookingWithLove

5. Easy Pan-Fried Fish Fillet

"This is a very easy method to make any type of fish fillets," says Ursel. "Choose mild-flavored fish -- flounder, halibut, cod, catfish, or tilapia are great candidates."

Easy Pan-Fried Fish Fillet

Photo by sterubawi05

6. Cabbage Patch Halibut

This cabbage-wrapping technique should work no matter what fish you choose. Chef John says, "This is one of easiest and most delicious ways you can cook fish. The leaf not only keeps the halibut moist, but also holds all your assorted garnishes and seasonings tight against the meat, which creates an even more intensely flavored result. The lovely aroma of cabbage will mask those fishy smells that usually linger in the kitchen. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves."

Cabbage Patch Halibut

Photo by Chef John

7. Zuppa di Pesce e Frutti di Mare (Mediterranean Seafood Soup)

"Easy yet tasty fish soup made only with the best fresh Mediterranean fish and seafood," says Giulia. "Use the remaining fish stock for a seafood risotto."

Zuppa di Pesce e Frutti di Mare (Mediterranean Seafood Soup)

Photo by saretta

8. Grilled fish fillet with pesto sauce

These moist, grilled white-fish fillets are made with just one tablespoon of oil and are served with a fresh-tasting pesto sauce.

Grilled fish fillet with pesto sauce

Photo by Allrecipes

9. Baja Style Fish Tacos

"I came up with this recipe after having fish tacos from a street vendor in Ensenada, Mexico," says the petite chef. "It is the closest to authentic I have found. Salsa can be made a day in advance for flavors to blend."

Baja Style Fish Tacos

Photo by Baking Nana

10. Pescado en Achiote (Mexican Fish in Annatto Sauce)

"White fish fillets and shrimp are marinated with achiote, orange juice, lemon, and spices, baked in the oven, and served with habanero sauce and red onion," says Chef Gaby Cervello. "You can use any white fish fillets. These are typical flavors of Southeast Mexico."

Pescado en Achiote (Mexican Fish in Annatto Sauce)

Photo by Chef Gaby Cervello

11. Russell's Fish Stew

"Nice hearty seafood stew, perfect for those cold winter days," says Dlish. "Serve with sliced French bread."

Russell's Fish Stew

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

12. Easy Baked Fish with Lemon

The recipe calls for tilapia, but you can use any white fish fillets you like. "This is an awesome weekday (or any day) dinner," says lutzflcat. "So very easy to make, and an easy cleanup. I used Wild Alaskan Cod, which baked to perfect flaky consistency in 15 minutes."

Easy Baked Fish with Lemon

Photo by lutzflcat

13. Indian Fish Curry

Mantu says this is "a very spicy dish, inspired by my mother's Bengali fish recipe she used to make in India."

Indian Fish Curry

Photo by aBoutrosBoutros

14. Seafood Sausage

The recipe calls for sole, but feel free substitute any white fish for the sole. Just be sure your fish is well chilled; cold fish makes better sausage. "The flavor is lovely, and the texture is similar to a boudin blanc, or white hot dog, if you prefer," says Chef John. "You can brown and serve these right after they're done boiling, but I like to make them ahead of time."

Seafood Sausage

Photo by Chef John

15. Pan-Seared and Crusted Ling Cod

"This is a simple and excellent way to serve ling cod or other bottom fish," Renee says. "It makes a delicious meal served with rice pilaf and Caesar salad."

Pan-Seared and Crusted Ling Cod

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

16. Florns' Chinese Steamed Fish

"An easy, fast, and yummy fish dish that my family absolutely loves," says charsiew. "This is my mom from China's recipe. Serve with rice."

Florns' Chinese Steamed Fish

Photo by Erin

Check out our collection of Seafood Recipes.


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Carl Hanson

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