How to Cook Fresh-Caught Gulf Seafood

Tips from Big Water Fish Market's Scott Dolan.

By Taylor Meredith January 31, 2014

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Scott Dolan, owner of Big Water Fish Market on Siesta Key, shares his top six tips for cooking seafood just right.

1. “Don’t overcook. A lot of people are intimidated by fish and want to overcook it. The basic rule is ten minutes per inch of thickness at 400 degrees. That’s pretty much a guideline to stick with. Cook thoroughly, but don’t overdo it.”

2. “You always want to cook the meat until it’s opaque, not translucent. You want it to flake easily with a fork.”

3. “If you’re grilling on an outdoor grill, make sure you talk to your fishmongers about what is going to hold up on a grill and what is not. Find out what will flake and stick to the grill, like grouper or a fish that doesn’t have skin, because in those cases you would want to use tin foil or a grill basket.”

4. “A lot of people have a tendency to want to marinate their fish with lemon, which is a big no-no because unless you’re making ceviche [raw fish marinated with lemons], the acid in the lemon will start cooking the fish before it hits the grill. There’s nothing wrong with flavoring with a lemon or grapefruit, but do it at the last minute or even afterwards.”

5. “Cooking the whole fish is an absolute wonderful way to eat it—it’s my favorite—but if you’re cooking a whole fish you want to make sure the guy at your fish market has scaled, gutted, and cut the gills out of your fish before you bake or grill it.”

6. “You always want to buy your fish the day you are going to eat it. If you’re running around, you should make the fish market your last stop so you can get it home and refrigerate it immediately.”

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