The Most Underrated Fish You Should Be Cooking, According To Adrienne Cheatham - Exclusive

If anyone knows fish, it's Adrienne Cheatham. The former "Top Chef" finalist, experienced restaurant chef, and author spent part of her esteemed culinary career under the direction of renowned chef Eric Ripert (who is globally recognized as a master of seafood) at Le Bernardin, located in New York City. Cheatham revealed this, along with the ins and outs of working the line at one of the most high-end restaurants in the United States, while filming an episode for the newest season of "Selena + Chef" "Selena + Chef"on HBO Max. After spending years helping prepare all the various fish dishes at Le Bernardin — and soaking up some helpful advice from Ripert along the way — Cheatham can now confidently call herself an expert when it comes to cooking just about any and every fish.

We later got a chance to catch up with Cheatham, asking about her experience in the kitchen and on "Selena + Chef." Of course, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to also ask for a little seafood advice given her fish-cooking finesse — and she didn't waste time talking about grocery store standbys like salmon, tuna, and cod. When it comes to seafood, the chef likes to go outside the box (or net) and wants you to do the same.

Speaking exclusively with Tasting Table, Cheatham revealed the most underrated fish she feels you should definitely be cooking with more often, and we're willing to bet you've heard of this one before, even if you turned up your nose at it. Cheatham explained this underrated seafood gem is not only her favorite fish to cook at home, but is also so much more versatile and easy to use in the kitchen than you may realize.

Cheatham says you're missing out on the joy of sardines

At the end of a long day, when the craving for something simple, light, and delicious kicks in, chef Adrienne Cheatham says she loves to make herself "grilled fresh sardines with just a little lemon and olive oil." Before you say no thanks and keep scrolling, the "Top Chef" alum told Tasting Table there is a misconception surrounding sardines, and their flavor is worth giving a chance. "Sardines are really underrated because people are familiar with the flavor from canned sardines and it gets much stronger in the can," Cheatham explained.

The chef says fresh sardines are actually a hidden ocean gem that should get some more time in the spotlight, both for the health benefits and the taste. "When you have fresh sardines, it's heaven. It's like you get all that healthy fat, you get a little bit of that flavor, but they're so clean, they have just such a different flavor from canned or tin sardines," Cheatham raves. (And science backs the chef's nutritional claims up — sardines have some of the highest levels of healthy omega-3s among all fish, according to the Cleveland Clinic.)

If you want to give sardines a try, chef Cheatham has a few quick and foolproof methods for cooking the controversial fish, recommending you "just lightly dust them with a tiny bit of flour and fry them whole. Or if they're bigger sardines, put a little salt, pepper, and oil and char them on a hot, hot grill." If you don't have an outdoor grill, a grill pan on your stove also works. "Lay them across three minutes on one side, flip it, two minutes on the other side and you're done." Add some fresh lemon, your favorite side dish, and dinner is served.

Catch Adrienne Cheatham on the fourth season of "Selena + Chef," now streaming on HBO Max.