Cooking fish is not an exact science and cooking times will vary depending on the thickness and/or size of the fish. The most important things to remember are:

  • The colour of fish changes from translucent to opaque when it is cooked and the flesh will flake easily.
  • The thicker the fish the longer it will take to cook.
  • Fish cooks quite quickly so phoning your mother after you’ve put it in to cook is not recommended!

To grill:

  • Put the grill on to warm; the temperature should be in the medium to hot range.
  • Lining the grill pan with foil is not essential but can prevent the fish picking up other flavours e.g. bacon, kippers. Brush the grill pan/foil with olive oil or melted butter. Put the fish in the pan and brush with oil/butter to keep it moist during cooking.
  • Put the fish under the grill to cook. There is no need to turn fillets during the grilling process but you should turn steaks/whole fish half way through. They can be delicate and may break so handle them carefully.
  • You can also use a griddle pan on the hob. Mine is a cast iron La Creuset one but there are others available on the market.

To Fry:

Use a shallow frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the fish in olive oil or butter. Butter can ‘burn’ but this can be prevented by using a little oil with it.

To Steam:

This is a great method – very healthy and the fish stays moist and retains lots of flavour. If you don’t have a three tier steamer I can really recommend one. It’s a very versatile piece of kitchen equipment. Vegetables are cooked to perfection and don’t need any salt in the cooking process and… one ring on the hob can cook three different items at once. Hooray! There are also bamboo steamers available that fit over your usual cooking pans.

Method: place water in the bottom pan – enough so that it won’t boil dry during cooking. Put the fish in the upper tier pan/bamboo steamer above, cover with the lid and off you go. What could be simpler?

To Bake:

  • Pre heat the oven to 180/200 degrees, gas 4 to 5.
  • Brush an oven proof dish with olive oil or butter.
  • Place the fish inside and cover with oiled/buttered foil.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven.

To Poach:

You will need a balaclava, dark anorak, wellies, torch, fishing net and a dark night! Alternatively, after making your purchase at the Whitby Catch…

  • Fill a shallow frying pan with enough liquid to half cover the fish. You can use fish stock, milk, water or white wine or a heady combination of all of four!  You could also add a little butter and some fresh, finely chopped, flat leaf parsley.
  • Heat the liquid until simmering then add the fish. Warm the liquid back up to a gentle simmer and poach until the fish is opaque in colour and flakes easily.


Power levels vary and some cook unevenly (mine does!) If you are confident in the performance of your microwave just follow your manufacturer’s instructions. Or try one of the above methods instead – at least you have time to make adjustments if necessary!