What to do with Leftover Fish

A lot of people think that fish has to be a one-time deal and toss any leftovers they have. But it doesn’t need to be this way! Learn how to use leftover fish with these few tips and recipe ideas.

The first thing to know is that if you have to use direct heat to reheat your leftovers, it must be quick and gentle. Using high heat such as pan-searing a second time or microwaving will only leave your fish dry or smelly! Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure you use your leftovers within 1 or 2 days of first cooking the fish.

Here are a few ideas on how you can use leftover fish:

  • Use as a healthy protein in tacos or burritos, either at room temperature or gently heated in a pan.
  • Stir into soups and chowders just before eating. The heat of the dish will gently reheat the fish.
  • Make fishcakes! They are the perfect recipe for leftovers.
  • Turn the cooked fish into pate and serve with crusty bread or crackers.
  • Kedgeree is another great dish to make with leftovers. Heat in a pan until just warmed through.
  • Use your leftover fish at room temperature as a salad topping or a sandwich filling, simply mix with herbs and seasoning of your choice and lemon juice!
  • Add some healthy protein to your pasta dishes! Stir your leftover fish into the pasta a minute or two before serving, just to heat it through.

Need more inspiration? We’re regularly sharing recipes on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not already following us, join us there!

Defrosting Fish in Cold water

We’ve seen how to defrost fish in the refrigerator, but alternatively, you can use cold water to help your fish thaw.

<<Method 1: In the refrigerator 

Method 2: In cold water

If you’re short on time or forgot to take your fish out of the freezer the night before, you can use cold water to reduce the time needed to thaw the fish.

vacuum packed

First, make sure the fish is sealed in a plastic bag. The water shouldn’t touch the fish so it’s important to be careful at this stage. Place the bag with the fish in a pot filled with cold water (if the fish floats, you can use weight such as a plate to make sure it’s submerged). Let it sit for about an hour before checking if the fish is completely thawed.

For thin fish fillets, you can run the bag under a steady stream of tap water. This should be quicker but only works if your fish is thin enough.

Do NOT use hot water to thaw the fish. This will change the taste and texture and thaw the fish unevenly, making the outer layers vulnerable to bacteria before the middle is thawed.

>>Method 3: In the Microwave

How to cook Seafood on the BBQ

We’ve seen how fish cooked on a BBQ can make a great addition to your summer gatherings, whether it’s for a convivial lunch or a fantastic al fresco dinner! But you can also cook a variety of seafood on the BBQ, such as oysters, prawns, mussels or scallops!

Cooking Oysters on the BBQ

Yes, that’s right! Oysters are not only delicious raw but you can enjoy them cooked!

If necessary, start by scrubbing the oyster shells with a soft bristled brush and cold water. Place oysters on the grill, flat side up and leave for about 8-10 minutes or until shell start to pop open. Carefully remove all oysters from the grill, even the ones that haven’t opened, using a fireproof mitt or tongs.

Completely shuck all oysters and add any sauce you’d like to your oysters. A simple squeeze of lemon juice can do wonders!

Cooking Prawns on the BBQ

Cooking prawns on the BBQ is very quick and easy! Just make sure that your barbecue is very hot so you can quickly brown the prawns without overcooking the meat.

If you purchased whole prawns, start by removing the shells and deveining them. Lightly season and brush with a little oil before placing on a skewer. Place on the hottest part of your BBQ and leave until coloured. Turn over and let it cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and wait for a couple of minutes before serving!

Cooking mussels on the BBQ

If necessary, start by cleaning the mussels with a brush and some cold water. Place your mussels in a roasting tray with a matching lid. If you don’t have any, you can use foil but make sure to close it tightly so that no steam can escape. Season your mussels and drizzle with a bit of oil before placing on the barbecue for 8-10 minutes. Mussels should be ready when most of them have opened. Discard any mussels that did not open before serving.

Cooking scallops on the BBQ

A great way to cook scallops on the BBQ is to skewer them with veggies or even prawns!

Start by marinating your scallops in an oil-based marinade for 10 to 15 minutes. You can use your favourite spices and herbs such as garlic, paprika, or basil. Place the scallops on skewers with any other ingredients of your choice or on their own. Remember that if you’re using wooden skewers, you need to soak them in water for an hour before cooking. Place the scallops skewers on your BBQ and cook for 8 minutes, turning half-way through. You can brush the scallops with more marinade while cooking.

How to cook fish on the BBQ

In the UK, we know how to make the most of warm and sunny weather. Barbecue is the ultimate way to share a good time with friends and family and enjoy tasty food. Adding fish to the mix can make your BBQ extra special and can be very rewarding if you know a few tricks to make sure that your barbecued fish is a success!

Ideally, you want to be using a mesh-type of grill so you can cook more delicate fish easily. If you don’t have any, you can always cook fish in foil. Also, make sure to oil your fish before placing it on the grill, so it doesn’t stick. Making sure the grill is clean can also help prevent the fish from sticking.

How to cook fish fillets on the BBQ

If you want to cook fish fillets directly on the grill, choose firm-fleshed fish that can stand the heat without falling apart, such as salmon, monkfish or halibut. To cook more delicate fish such as seabass or lemon sole, wrap the fillets in foil with a bit of liquid and some herbs and spices. It will steam the fish and keep it moist.

You can also use fillets to make fish skewers or fish burgers, which often helps to make it more appealing for young children!

How to cook whole fish on the BBQ

You can also choose to cook fish whole. Serving whole fish always makes for an impressive main course and leaving the fish whole helps to keep the fish moist and flavourful. You can also stuff whole fish which is a great way to add flavour.

One way to cook whole fish is to use a fish basket, which consists of two metal grids that ‘sandwich’ the fish and helps the stuffing stay inside. It also produces a crispy skin. If you don’t own a fish basket, you can wrap your whole fish in foil. It won’t have a crispy skin but the flesh will be wonderfully moist.

Seasoning fish for BBQ

Try marinating your fish – even something as simple as a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and few herbs can do wonders. Classic flavours usually suit barbecued fish quite well: garlic, lemon, basil, thyme or chilli. Try to avoid overpowering flavours that would take over the fish and mask its taste. You can also use flavoured butters or side sauces to add some flavour to your fish.

Sides to serve with barbecued fish

Simply grilled vegetables compliment well fish cooked on a BBQ. Try Mediterranean vegetables such as courgettes, tomatoes, aubergine or bell peppers. You can also serve light salads as a side dish. If you prefer something more substantial, you can serve your fish with rice or roast potatoes.

How to smoke fish at home

The easiest way to smoked fish at home is the hot smoking method. This involves cooking and smoking the fish simultaneously. If you can buy smoked ovens, it’s actually not very hard to DIY your very own smoker.

smoke fish at home

You basically need a large container and a matching lid. Place your wooden chips at the bottom of the container and cover with foil then make a few holes. Place a wire rack on top (where your fish will be) and cover with a lid or tightly place foil over the container. If you are smoking your fish indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated.

Oily fish is best for hot-smoking: try mackerel or salmon! Larger fish will take longer so you also need to consider the size of your fillets when smoking fish.

Before smoking, you will need to cure your fish for about 30 minutes. You can experiment with different flavours and spices but remember to not use too many flavours. To keep it simple you can rub your fish in coarse salt then rinse it well before cooking.

The principle of hot-smoking is to cook the fish slowly, at a low temperature and away from direct heat. Place your wooden chips in the bottom of your container and cover with foil, with a few holes so the smoke can escape. The fish should be placed on a rack, on top of the foil and covered with a lid so the smoke can surround the fish.

You can experiment with a variety of wooden chips – each type of wood will give the fish a unique flavour. You can also use hay. Oak is a classic; it gives fish a bold and strong flavour but is easy to overdo. Beech is more subtle but still fragrant and has less risk of overpowering the flavours of the fish. Only use clean hardwoods for hot-smoking.

Cook your fish for about 10-12 minutes at about 160C. Adjust cooking time according to the size of your fillets. If you’re not eating all the fish straight away, make sure to seal your fillets before storing it in the fridge – otherwise, all your food might smell of smoke too!

How to cook squid

Cooking squid can be daunting at first, but preparing a whole squid isn’t actually very difficult, and you can always find prepared squid if you’re not so keen on preparing the squid yourself.

Squid is very versatile and can be cooked in many ways, depending on your recipe or how you prefer to eat. Just make sure not to overcook it, as that’s when it gets tough and rubbery!

How to deep-fry squid

Fried squid is delicious! Thinly slice your squid tubes and coat them in flour, panko or any mix you’d like to make crispy squid. If you don’t have a deep-fryer, just heat a container deep enough filled with oil and cook the rings by batches. You only need a couple of minutes per batch. Pat dry and enjoy!

How to boil squid

Yes, you can cook squid by boiling it! Blanch your sliced squid tubes and tentacles in boiling water for one minute before cooling it in icy water before adding it to cold dishes, like salads. Squid is also great in soups and stews and simply needs to be cooked for a couple of minutes in the soup or broth of your choice.

How to pan-sear squid

A super easy way to get your squid on the table. Just heat a pan with a little bit of oil and seasoning of your choice on a high heat and sear your squid for one of two minutes. The flesh will be opaque white and shiny when cooked. This a great way to cook squid and add it to pasta or any hot dish!

How to bake squid

There are many ways to cook squid in the oven. One way is to prepare squid rings as if you wanted to deep-fry them but bake them in the oven until crispy, about 15-20 minutes. You can also toss the squid with olive oil and seasoning of your choice and cover in foil and bake for 20 minutes. A delicious and healthy way to enjoy squid!

How to make squid ceviche

If you fancy something a bit different, try “cooking” your squid in lemon juice. Simply prepare a marinade with lemon juice and seasoning of your choice and put the squid in the mix to marinade for about 15 minutes, so flavours can develop. This is great to eat by itself or serve alongside fresh salad.

How to slow-cook squid

If you have a bit more time on your hands, try slow cooking your squid! This is especially good for soups and stews. Simply prepare your dish and add the squid it, then let simmer for a few hours on a very low heat, until the squid is tender. Even easier if you have a slow cooker!

How to cook scallops

Scallops are a popular treat in the UK. If some prefer it for dinner parties, they are very versatile and can be part of any everyday meal. They take very little time to cook and have a delicious sweet and juicy taste.

Scallops are also good for your health! They contain omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12. They are also high in protein and low in calories!

Have you ever had scallops that were rubbery? Then they were overcooked! They only take a few minutes to cook so need a little attention to make sure the texture doesn’t become too tough.

Our king scallops always come out of the shell, but if you buy some that are still in the shell you will need to shuck your scallops before cooking them.

You can cook scallops by steaming, poaching or pan-frying them for a few minutes. Baking doesn’t take much longer. Pan-frying scallops is a popular choice because it adds colour without overcooking.

How to pan-fry scallops:

Pat dry your scallops before cooking and don’t overcrowd the pan. A general rule of thumb is 2 minutes on one side and anything from 10 seconds to 2 minutes on the other. You’re aiming for a caramelised crust and a translucent centre. The scallops should be springy to the touch, if they are mushy they are undercooked but if they’re firm they are overcooked.

Scallops can also be served raw or barely cooked in recipes for sashimi, carpaccio or ceviche! Make sure you get prime quality scallops for this!

How to defrost fish safely

We deliver all of our fish and seafood market fresh and individually vacuum packed and freezing your fish is a great way to keep it fresh until you cook it. With our individually Our Seabird System makes this very easy and you don’t need to do anything else but simply put your fish in your freezer.

But how do you make sure you defrost your fish properly so you can enjoy it at its best? If you’re not keen on cooking the fish from frozen, here are some methods you can try.

Method 1: In the refrigerator

Your frozen fish should be well packaged and sealed. Check the condition of the fish before thawing it to make sure it has been preserved well in the freezer. This is where our packaging makes it super easy but otherwise, make sure you follow this tips to safely freeze your fish.

Defrosting Salmon

Plan ahead when you will need your fish and put your fish in the refrigerator the day before, to let it thaw gradually. This method takes the most time (several hours) but it’s the best way to preserve the taste and texture. Don’t be tempted to let the fish thaw on a kitchen counter as the outer parts of the fish could start to go bad.

Thawed fish will have the same texture as fresh fish, it might smell a bit more fishy than fresh fish but it shouldn’t be off-putting. If you have stored and thawed the fish properly the taste and texture will be just the same.

salmon on ice

>>Method 2: In cold water

Choosing fish & seafood for a dinner party

Fish and seafood can very easily become the stars of any dinner party, great to start a meal or as a lighter main course option, the possibilities are endless! If you’re looking to plan your next get-together with friends or family but are not sure how much fish or seafood you should get, here’s a rough guide to help you.

seafood party platter

Whole fish: 350g to 550g per person

Fish fillets: 150g to 220g per person

Fish steaks: 175g to 300g per person

Dressed crabs: 1 per person

Oysters: 12 per person

Smoked salmon: 100g per person

Squid: 250g per person

Prawns: 300g to 400g (for whole prawns) or 150g to 200g (for prepared prawns)

These are indications of portion size for a main. If preparing a starter, choose smaller portions. Of course, everyone is different so you can adapt these to your family and friends’ appetites!

What specific fish & shellfish you want to buy is up to you and your guests’ personal preference. Popular choices for party food include smoked salmon, salmon fillets, monkfish fillets, scallops, lobster, oysters, king prawns or North Atlantic prawns.

Remember that what could seem like an “everyday fish” can also become a true delicacy with the right recipe and presentation!

We hope this will help you when buying fresh fish and seafood for a dinner party and that it will help you better plan your meal. Remember that there are always great things you can do with leftovers!

dinner party

How to cook frozen fish without thawing

cooked tuna

If you purchase a large quantity of fish and seafood, you will have to freeze what you’re not using immediately as fish can only stay fresh for up to two days in the refrigerator.

But did you know that it is possible to cook your fish straight from the freezer, without thawing it first?

Cooking fish straight from the freezer can save time but you have to be particularly careful in order to preserve the quality of the fish.

Here are a few steps to get your fish ready for cooking:

  • Take the fish out of the freezer and out of its packaging.
  • Thoroughly rinse with cold water to remove any ice that might be on the surface of the fish.
  • Pat the fish dry with a paper towel or a clean tea towel.
  • Brush the fish with a thin layer of olive oil or marinade, season to your taste and start cooking.

Baking, poaching or steaming are the best methods for cooking fish if you’re skipping the thawing process. Avoid pan-frying as the fish may release too much water or the flesh won’t be evenly cooked.

If you’re following a recipe, you may add a few minutes to make sure the frozen fish is fully cooked. As cooking times vary depending on the thickness of fillets, the best thing to do is keep a close eye on your fish and make sure it’s soft, flaky and evenly cooked.

Cooking oily fish from frozen

salmon fillets

Oily fish can quickly become a soggy mess if cooked in the wrong way. If you want to cook fatty fish such as salmon fillets from frozen, choose recipes such as stews or curries where the fish is gently cooked in liquid. Poaching or gently baking would work well too.

Oily fish include Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Kippers, Herring and Trout

Cooking white fish from frozen

cooked white fish

White fish is generally less delicate to cook from frozen as it is leaner, so you can bake, grill, poach, steam or even pan-fry – if you’re being careful and removing any excess water. We would still suggest choosing recipes where the fish is gently cooked so everything can be evenly cooked.

White fish include Cod, Haddock, Monkfish, Halibut, Lemon Sole, Seabass, Sea Bream

Cooking fish fillets straight from the freezer may produce a slightly different texture than fresh fish, depending on which recipes you are cooking, so we would advise on planning things ahead and gently thawing your fish if possible, in order to get keep quality at its best.

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