Unless you're eating sushi, no one wants undercooked fish. The amount of time it takes to cook fish depends on the type of fish you're cooking, the size of the fish and the method that you're using.
Methods, such as baking, sauteing, broiling, poaching and steaming, follow a 10-minute rule. For baking, set the oven to about 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Determine how thick the fish fillet or whole fish is at its thickest point. For every inch, plan for 10 minutes of cook time. So, if your fillet is 1/2 inch thick, you'll need about five minutes.
Use the 10-minute rule for stuffed or rolled fish, too. Simply measure right before you put the fish in the oven, when the fish is completely prepped.
Turn the fish approximately halfway through the cooking time. But, if the fish is thin -- less than 1/2 inch thick -- turning is unnecessary.
The fish is safe to eat once it's reached an internal temperature of 145 F when you insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest portion. Thin fillets -- such as sole -- can be visually inspected for doneness.
For fish that's cooked en papillote, wrapped in foil or parchment paper, or in a sauce such as curried fish, add five minutes to the cook time. If you're cooking fish straight from a frozen state -- double the cook time. For example, a 1/2-inch steak needs 10 minutes.
A fish with pink or white flesh will appear opaque rather than translucent when fully cooked. The flesh should feel firm, but still look and feel moist. If you're not sure, use a fork to break into the fillet. The meat should easily flake. Avoid overcooking fish as it dries out easily.
Fish steaks, including salmon and swordfish, respond well to grilling. They're firm, so they stand up to the grates and this less precise method of cooking.
Preheat the grill. Ensure your grill is clean or you'll risk having the fish stick and fall apart during the cooking process.
Place the fish steak directly on the grill in the hottest portion. Sear the outside for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Move the fish steak to a slightly cooler section of the grill to finish cooking. Use the 10-minute-per-inch rule.
If you're grilling fish that still has skin attached, such as whitefish or coho salmon, place a greased layer of foil over the top of the grates and grill the fish, using the 10-minute rule.
To cook fillets on the grill, wrap them along with seasonings in foil and use the 10-minute rule. You should also wrap whole fish -- and the 10-minute rule applies as well. Enhance the flavor of grilled fish with a flavorful marinade.