23 Must-Try Fish Dinners
Oh, the reasons to choose fish. It's lower in saturated fat, usually higher in healthy fat, has a shorter cook time, and you can buy just the right amount. And let's just be real, we could all use a break from chicken. Whether you prefer salmon, cod, halibut, or catfish, there's a recipe for a gorgeous, fresh fish dinner that fits your taste. We're loving the ease and bright flavors of these healthful dishes.
Roasted Salmon with Kale-Quinoa Salad
The American Heart Association recommends eating salmon or other fatty fish twice a week to reap the cardiovascular benefits that the omega-3 fatty acids provide. Look for wild salmon, which has 5 to 10 times fewer contaminants and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) than farm-raised.
Photo: Colin Price; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Seared Cod with Bacon, Braised Fennel, and Kale
Sear the cod fillets in the bacon drippings first to get a good crust; then add back to the pan, and cover so they can steam and impart their juices to the vegetable mixture. You can also use grouper or snapper.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia with Citrus Slaw and Chipotle Tartar Sauce
Bread tilapia fillets in a mixture that includes tortilla chips and cumin and coriander. Serve the warm crispy fish alongside orangey slaw.
Photo: Steven DeVries; Food Styling: Catherine Crowell Steele; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Seared Grouper with Black-Eyed Pea Relish
This zingy relish only gets better as it sits; make a couple of days ahead, if you like. You can also dice the cherry tomatoes and serve the relish with whole-grain tortilla chips for a snack. Use any flaky fish, such as sustainably caught halibut or cod, or try the relish on meaty salmon.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Sautéed Snapper with Curried Greens
The greens become wonderfully silky and aromatic once stirred into a fragrant broth of coconut milk, curry powder, garlic, and fresh ginger. Since the greens are already cooked, they only need to be warmed through in the sauce. If you haven't made a batch of greens, stir in fresh spinach until wilted. Top with any mild, firm white fish, chicken, or shrimp.
Photo: Greg DuPree; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Sea Bass with Citrus Salsa
This recipe gives you dinner party elegance in a 20-minute dish. We rely on sea bass, a tender, mild-flavored fish with a lovely buttery quality. There are several sustainable options to choose from (Atlantic black sea bass, for one), so ask questions at the fish counter to ensure you're making a responsible choice. You can also use cod, sablefish (also called black cod), striped bass, or barramundi with great results.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Catherine Crowell Steele; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clark
Cod with Shiitake-Bacon Crust and Arugula Salad
This is triple-whammy umami--shiitakes, bacon, and cod all deliver complex tastes. You can also use haddock, flounder, or tilapia. Shiitake mushrooms have a bolder flavor than most mushrooms, with an almost smoky quality that amplifies the flavor of the bacon. The key is to keep it simple to let these powerhouse ingredients shine.
Photo: Jennifer Causey
Grilled Tuna Over Green Bean, Tomato, and Chickpea Salad
This easy, high-protein meal comes together quickly following an after-work workout. If you exercise at midday, save leftovers for lunch.
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Caroline Cunningham
Salmon with Potatoes and Horseradish Sauce
You can't go wrong when you start with salmon and a sour cream sauce, especially if the sauce is flavored with dill and horseradish. Fill out the plate with a side of steamed green beans.
Photo: Romulo Yanes; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen
Seared Tuna with Shaved Vegetable Salad
Shaving raw root veggies into a side-dish salad is a fantastic approach. They're ready in just a few minutes, their earthy flavors stay vibrant, and a simple vinaigrette tenderizes them while retaining some crunch.
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanches; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Cod with Herbed Pea Relish
Frozen green peas help make this dish. Oregano, capers, lime juice, and red pepper bring flavor to the topping.
Photo: Jennifer Causey
Almond-Crusted Trout with Dill
Trout gets an extra-crispy crust from the almonds. You could sub flounder for the trout and pecans or walnuts for the almonds.
Photo: Jennifer Causey
Cod with Fennel and Fingerling Potatoes
Fingerling potatoes add some satisfying heft to a light dish of fish and veggies in a clean broth. We like the color contrast the purple potatoes lend, but any fingerlings you have will be fine. Use your most flavorful olive oil in this dish—it makes the sauce richer. A mandoline will help you shave the fennel bulb quickly into thin, even slices. If you don’t have a mandoline, a sharp chef’s knife will work just fine. Spring onions look like bulbous green onions, which you can use as a substitute.
Photo: Greg Dupree
Pan-Seared Tilapia with Sweet Pea Puree
This lightly sweet, herby puree radiates with spring flavor and color.
Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Lindsey Lower
Roasted Halibut with Tahini Sauce
This fish gets its Middle Eastern tang from zaatar, a spice blend that's having a big moment, and its sesame-rich sauce. A fine side dish: oven-roasted diced potatoes (start them before the fish) tossed with parsley and olive oil. Couscous would be good too.
Photo: Annabelle Breakey
Pan-Seared Grouper with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
This is the secret to restaurant-quality fish. The magic happens on the bottom of the pan where the fish forms an even, crisp crust. The sauce seals the deal.
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika and Parmesan Polenta
Discover the wonders of smoked paprika with this easy and economical fish dinner. Creamy polenta complements the full-flavored fish.
Seared Tuna with Eggplant and Edamame
Eggplant is the real star here, with its meaty texture and savory notes that match those of the tuna. Soy sauce and sesame oil deepen the effect, and edamame offers delightful chew. You can also use regular globe eggplant instead of the Japanese variety; just peel and cut into cubes. Add a side of brown rice or soba noodles, and dinner is done. Make extra and have leftovers for a light lunch the next day.
Photo: Jennifer Causey
Pan-Roasted Grouper with Provençale Vegetables
Use a broiler pan for both components of this recipe. The fennel-tomato mixture cooks in the bottom of the pan, helping to steam the fish on the rack above.
Jim Bathie; Jan Gautro
Mackerel with Herb Salad
Brining the fish in water with salt and sugar heightens its natural flavor, but it also provides a little added insurance that the fish will remain moist, even if it's slightly overcooked. Mackerel has a firm texture and full-bodied flavor, making it a perfect candidate for the grill.
Photo: Marcus Nilsson; Styling: Victoria Granof
The bacon drippings used to cook the catfish lend this family favorite authentic flavor. Use the bacon in the coleslaw, or reserve for another use.
Halibut with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
Sustainable Choice. For a more budget-friendly option, try substituting a similarly textured fish, such as cod, for the halibut fillets.
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen
Grilled Trout with Cherry Compote
If you can't find whole trout, use fillets; they'll only need to grill for about 4 minutes. You can also use 20 ounces frozen, thawed cherries: Use the liquid (don't drain them); simmer in step 1 until the liquid almost fully evaporates before stirring in the port and honey.
Photo: Justin Walker