Spicing and Seasoning Tips for Freshwater Fish

Freshwater fish come in many shapes, sizes, textures, and flavors, but their natural taste can be enhanced by adding herbs and spices. Seasoning freshwater fish can be easy as 1-2-3, but it helps to keep some tips in mind, especially if you aren’t used to cooking freshwater fish.

Many types of freshwater fish have a light flavor. They don’t taste fishy at all. Take this into consideration when you are thinking of adding seasonings to your fish. How will the herbs and spices mask or compliment the fish’s natural flavor? Will the herbs be overpowering, and will everyone at the table enjoy the spices that you use?

For example, smallmouth bass can have virtually no distinguishing flavor. Its texture, however, may be great for certain cooking techniques such as grilling, steaming, or frying in butter. If you intend on steaming this fish, for instance, you may use some moderately strong flavors so that the finished product won’t be bland. Some “medium” strong flavors can include fresh herbs, including chives, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or dill. You may also want to use lemongrass pieces or a quartered lemon. Additionally, you can add various spices to round out the flavors, including freshly cracked black pepper, cayenne pepper powder, or cardamom powder.

If you want to add the best seasonings to your fish, you may want to create your own mixes and grind your spices right at home. Spice grinders are inexpensive and using them will produce fragrant spices that will be full of flavor.

It is best to make your seasoning mixes simple. Adding too many herbs and spices will make a mess of the overall flavor that you may want. For instance, if you add too much dried rosemary and there is already dried thyme in the mix, the two flavors of these herbs will compete. Dill weed or celery salt (or just plain celery powder) are great additions to any seasoning mix. These two flavors can often be found in ready-made seasoning mixes for both freshwater and saltwater fish.

After scaling the fish if it will not be filleted, season both the inside and the outside of the fish. Doing so will help ensure that every part of the fish will be flavorful and delicious. If you are filleting the fish, season both sides as well. If you are going to dredge the fish in some kind of batter or coating, add your seasoning mix to the batter or coating, too. Add salt separately from your mix to avoid over-salting.

These tips are easy to follow and will help you create tasty freshwater fish dishes.