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Cooking tips for fish and other seafoods - FAQs on cooking fish and shellfish

Should fish be fully cooked?

  • Never overcook fish!

  • You should remove it from the oven, pan, etc when it is just under cooked done and still opaque in the middle. The internal heat, the heat from the plate and any sauce will finish off the cooking by the time it gets to the table. In this way you will never serve dried up fish again, it will always be moist and succulent.

  • Tuna and salmon are best served while still rare in the centre.

  • In fact fresh tuna is even better when it is just seared on the outside and eaten like a very rare steak!

  • Try crushing cashew nuts and pressing the tuna steaks into it to cover the tuna all over and then pan fry it, or replace the crushed cashews with cracked peppercorns. Cut each steak into 1cm thick slices and arrange, slightly fanned on the plate

Does the same apply to shellfish?

  • Most definitely!

But what about food poisoning?

  • If the fish / shellfish is cooked as above, it will be thoroughly cooked by the time it is served to your guests, family or friends. It will also have reached the temperature required to kill most bacteria (65°C).

  • As for the tuna . . . have you ever eaten raw oysters, sashimi or sushi?

  • However, the less cooked you intend to serve your fish or shellfish, the fresher the product should be and the more careful you should be about personal and kitchen hygiene.

Are different types of fish suited to particular methods of cookery?

The answer is yes, however you can cook most fish most ways. But the oilier fish with stronger flavours lend themselves better to grilling or barbecuing, while those with a medium flavour are more suited to pan-frying, while the delicate flavoured ones are best poached or steamed. Here are suggestions some of the more available species:


  • Bream, snapper, rainbow trout, ocean trout, sea bass, flounder, trevally, leatherjacket.

Grilling and barbecuing

  • Swordfish, tuna, blue-eye cod, trout, salmon, mackerel, blue warehou, kingfish, kahawai, flathead, mullet, herring, sardines or any firm-fleshed fish.
  • Crayfish, lobster, prawns and mussels.
  • Marinate or baste lean fish to prevent it drying out during cooking.

Stewing and casseroling

  • Trevally, kingfish, herring, mackerel, coley, whiting, red mullet, firm-fleshed bream and sea bass.
  • Crayfish, lobster, prawns, mussels, squid.
  • Avoid combining any strongly flavoured, oily fish in one dish.


  • Whitebait, cod, groper, lemon-fish, sardines, orange roughy, any of the dory family and any flat fish fillets.
  • Prawns, mussels, squid, scallops.
  • Thicker, larger fish and fillets tend to dry out and overcook on the outside before cooking through.


  • Most fish can be pan-fried.
  • Most shellfish can be pan-fried.


  • Any firm-fleshed fish such as tuna and mullet.
  • Prawns, squid, cuttlefish, mussels, scallops.

Steaming or poaching

  • Bream, snapper, blue-eye, flathead, blue warehou, trout, sea bass, salmon, kingfish.
  • Crayfish, lobster, prawns, mussels, squid, scallops.
  • Always poach in either a seasoned court bouillon, fish stock or wine. This will either increase flavour or prevent any flavour loss form the fish/shellfish


  • No specific recipe

Food and Cooking Tips
from professional
Chef Tallyrand


Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

If you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's own web site (link in main menu)

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