Why Tilapia Is A Great Type Of Fish To Cook Straight From Frozen

We've always been told that cooking frozen fish involves prior planning. That the ingredient needs to be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight, or failing that, it will need to spend time in the sink under cold running water so it eventually comes out of its icy state. But if you're the kind of cook that's constantly pressed for time, it may be worth storing tilapia steaks in the freezer for those days when you have a hankering for seafood but don't have the time to do anything other than throw fillets in the oven to bake.

This farmed, freshwater fish may be considered by some seafood fans as a fairly unexciting ingredient, but tilapia is hearty enough to withstand the stress of being cooked from its frozen state because it contains less fat than an oilier fish, like salmon. It also contains less water, and because of this, the fillet can be expected to extrude less liquid when it is exposed to high temperatures. Tests show that high-fat, oily fillets like salmon are more likely to turn mushy if they are roasted or pan-fried from frozen.

Other, specific types of fish can be cooked from frozen

But tilapia isn't the only fish that can potentially be cooked from frozen. White-fleshed fish like cod, haddock, halibut, seabass, and monkfish can hold their own, too, since like tilapia, they contain less fat. Given this, it's best to avoid attempting to cook oilier fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout without defrosting the fillets first, although exceptions can possibly be made for cooking styles like poaching. Cooking from frozen also means being selective about your cooking methods, since frozen fish will likely taste better if baked, poached, or steamed.

In order to get the most out of your frozen dinner, fishmongers recommend first getting rid of any ice crystals that might have formed by washing your fillets carefully in cold water, and then drying them off carefully before brushing them with a thin layer of olive oil. You'll also need to adjust your cooking time, since ingredients that go from freezer to stove or oven will need more time before they are ready to consume. And no matter how appetizing your frozen fish might look after it's done, cooking experts say that it's too much to expect that fish will taste just as good, and will have the same texture as when it is cooked fresh.