How Much Is Too Much? ...and Other Fishy Questions...

Updated on January 11, 2013
L.L. asks from Austin, MN
21 answers

Seriously, though, my two year old loves tuna (cheap canned, not albacore) and when I give it to her, she will eat a cans worth...5 ounces, I think? She often wants it two or three times a week for it safe to give her that much, do you think? She also like's these gluten free fish sticks I found for her, which are a solid haddock.

Also, my family generally doesn't like fish. I really like a good beer battered fresh haddock, but that's a rare treat and I HATE frying things because of the mess. Anyhow, what is your favorite kind of fish? Any that don't taste Ways to eat fish that don't seem so fishy?

Also, I used to make salmon patties (again, out of a can) but have never tried fresh salmon, the kind that looks more like a steak. I know people SAY it's good, but again, the only way I've ever had salmon was mixed with eggs and crackers, fried, and smothered in cheese sauce.

Anyhow, besides all the other you love fish? Hate it? Any other thoughts on fish?

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So What Happened?

Thanks, ladies, for sharing your tastes and all your good ideas.

Riley...thanks for the lesson!! :) :) I know I can always count on your for my lesson of the day, when necessary. I think you told me about a dozen things I didn't know!

And yes, my youngest is gf because she has CD. So store bought breaded things are out, except for her own special fish sticks...probably wouldn't buy store bought breaded anyhow. I do my own breading for anything I want crispy. :)

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answers from Fargo on

My last pregnancy i craved tuna....which i normally can take or leave. I would say a couple times a week is too much. I have a daughter ghat loves it and i limit it. I shred chicken and will use that to make her chicken salad vs tuna salad....not quite the same, but works for her.

We eat a lot of tilapia.... i will broil or pan fry with some blackened seasoning. Cod is very mild as well. I am not a huge salmon fan as sometimes its too fishy for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I love fish - my dad is retired and spends a lot of his time fishing, My mom hates fish, so I get what he catches.
My favorite way to cook it is to filet it, beer batter it, and fry it, then sprinkle a bit of malt vinegar on it.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

Fish should NEVER smell or taste fishy.

You know when you open the chicken (or hamburger, or whatever) and step back with a "I just BOUGHT that?!!!" Grimace of Horror... Because its soured/spoiling/nasty?

You DONT eat it then, right?

"Fishy" is the smell of rotting fish.
You don't call that rotting hamburger smell "beefy", right?

So STEP ONE) It needs to NOT smell "like fish".

Smell a stick of butter. That's approximately what fresh (raw) freshwater fish should smell like.

Now. Get ready to make margaritas. Add sea salt/kosher (NOT iodized) salt to ice in a cup. Take a big whiff of the salty ice. That's EXACTLY what fresh (raw) ocean fish should smell like.

STEP TWO) Clean properly

So that fresh fish you e bought and smelled & it smells fresh/clear/clean/brisk? You can make it taste fishy by not cleaning it properly. Sigh. Almost no grocery store will clean properly. They don't train their people to fillet for flavor. They train then to fillet for weight.

#1- Remove 'blood vein'

The blood vein is the dark stripe found in all fish. When raw its various colors (red, brown, golden, etc... But its this very obvious dark stripe usually running down the middle of the fillet). It is as important to remove this as it is to remove turkey or chicken giblets. Because that's what it is. Its the filtration system (similar to liver & kidneys) that filters out all the toxins and then sends them to the intestines to get pooped out. Yum. :P Its also where fish store their oils and scent gland smells to excrete in their scales. (Gag). Fish just do this process in their muscles in that dark 'blood vein' instead if an actual vein.

The blood vein starts decaying the moment the fish is killed (plus its kinda nasty to begin with). Its 1 of 2 parts that make a fresh fish taste fishy. CUT IT OFF. You'll lose about 1/5th-1/10th of the fillet cutting it off.

Its a pain to cut off without a fillet knife. EASY to scrape off with a spoon after cooking. Cooked with it on it will still taste a little like the BV (like forgetting and leaving giblets in), but nowhere near as bad as if you ate the durn thing.

#2). Skin. All those fishy oils (and scales, slime, etc.) are not for eating (except as a delicacy... Which translates to 'What can we get this crazy foreigner to eat next"... Or 'food for alcoholics &/or poor people"). Don't eat it. Ideally, don't cook with the skin on it. But, again, you can cook skin on and remove later. Unless you're grilling, please don't. (In restaurants, where skin is served "on" its usually cooked separately and reattached. Both so the flavor doesn't permeate the meat, and to remove the blood vein before cooking).

To remove AFTER cooking: just flip skin side up and peel off skin, the use a spoon to scrape the nasty grey stripe off. Then flip over & make pretty.

To remove BEFORE cooking : you'll need a very sharp knife to start the skin. Make a small cut. Pull, and then help with the knife whenever the skin sticks. Some species just pull off. Others need a knife to help a lot. For the vein, it just needs cutting since the BV is not a discrete organ but a channel in the muscle.

#3) Just like chicken, etc... Rinse & pay dry after removing skin (and blood vein) and pat dry


Just cleaning it properly will make any fish you cook 1000x better

((Ahem. Lemon? It breaks up those oils. You don't need an acid to break down the oils if you remove the vein & skin from the get go. Which is a good cheat, ESP for grilling to get rid of the evidence. But DO try not cheating to begin with)


There are a LOT of great ways to cook all kinds of fish. Just like a steak.

#1 problem when people cook fish = over cooking.

People tend to cook fish like they're cooking chicken/beef/etc. Don't :D fish cooks FAST!!!

Typically... A fillet under the broiler or in a sauté pan cooks in 2-3 minutes.
But most people cook for 20-30.

That's like cooking a 90 minute chicken for 10 hours*.


You can see why that usually goes badly (especially if they're cooking it with skin & blood vein... Just saturating it with fishy oils and poop. Yuuuuuuum.

* The caveat to this is slow cooking. Just like you can slowcooker or smoke a chicken for 10 hours... You can slowcook a fish for 20-30 minutes. IN SAUCE. When the fish is simmering & soaking in a sauce (like ginger garlic cream sauce, or a tomato basil white wine sauce) and you want it to soak up the sauce... Let it cook for 20-30. Otherwise 2-3.

Simplest way?

- Clean
- sprinkle with salt & pepper
- throw under broiler for 2-3 minutes, on the top shelf w the oven door cracked open to keep the broiling element hot

It'll be done when it turns opaque & "flakes". Test w a fork. If it flakes with a fork: Voila


Add stuff.

Sauces, garnishes, pastas, veggies, peppers, shrooms, etc. after its done. Just like you cook a burger by itself (or taco meat), and then add stuff... Instead of cooking the burger w bun, lettuce, tomato, etc. LOL... I can't count how many times people try to cook a burger 'bun & all' when its fish instead.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I am a new found fish eater. Growing up in MN, we ate what was caught (fresh water pan fish) and that's about it. My brother liked tuna, but I never did.

Now, I like tuna salad (we use the pole caught "less mercury" version. Yes it's expensive if you compare it to regular, but it's something I'm willing to pay more for. We only eat it a few times a month though.

I've added salmon to our diet. I buy the frozen fillet's at Costco when they are in season. It's Pacific wild caught and supposed to be the healthiest, the farm raised stuff is not good for you or the environment. All you need to do is google easy salmon recipes and there are tons of them out there. My Kindergartener is not a fish eater, but actually likes salmon (as does my 2nd grader) so we've been eating it a few times a month, even though it's not really my favorite. We grill it or bake it. Lots of options...

We eat tilapia or cod, or haddock when we can get it. Again, I get all these frozen in fillet's from Costco. It's reasonable, and I like the way it's packaged so I can pull out as many fillets as I need.

I don't usually fry fish. Sometimes I do, but I like it just as good baked.

Tilapia is NOT fishy. It's really mild, and great it taco's. Just look for the packaging, I've read not to buy any that is farm raised in China as their fish farming practices are not very well regulated and are (apparently) pretty nasty. Look for farm raised in Chile or South America.

If she likes fish sticks, (are you gluten free for a reason?) the ones from Costco are good (solid fish). Since I've been buying the fillet's though, I've stopped buying the stick kind. Too many ingredients for me.

Spend a little time looking at recipes online, you'll have lots of ideas.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

One quick thought... canned tuna contains a decent amount of mercury, so your daughter might be getting over the allowed limit if she's eating it frequently. Some grocery stores sell low mercury versions (Sprouts by me has it, not sure about stores near you). The low mercury tuna is also called "pole caught"; it's a different way to fish, I guess, that gets different tuna. Truly, I don't know all the details, but it might be worth looking into.

For other fish, we also eat cod - it's a basic non-fishy tasting white fish, and rockfish. A lot of people like tilapia. Salmon is way to fishy tasting for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I love fish, and salmon is my favorite. I usually buy some sockeye at the fish counter and then take it home and bake it with just a little bit of salt and pepper, nothing else. I have it down pat so that it's perfectly tender and flaky, not overcooked the way some salmon is served. I rarely ever make the steaks, though. The fillets are easier to deal with, IMO. We eat fish maybe three times a week at our house. In the summer, my husband will grill salmon outside, which I like too.

I can't do tuna, and don't care for catfish and halibut or the thicker white fish. Love a nice filet of soe or snapper, though. Smelt? Will gladly clean and dredge through flour/spices and cook in the cast iron pan. They're heavenly with some salt and lemon. mmmm...

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answers from Dallas on

If I remember right, my pediatrician said to keep tuna to a few times a month. (We all hate it anyway, so no problem there.) Not only mercury, but I'd be worried about all the BPA she is consuming.

I don't like fish all that much. Salmon, is OK. I like Mahi Mahi the most, out of all the fish choices. It's very mild. I do like crab legs, also.

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answers from Grand Forks on

We like fish. None of us are fond of anything that is breaded or battered (except youngest son) so we usually eat our fish baked. I just brush fillets with olive oil and a little lemon juice, season with lemon pepper and bake. I usually buy frozen fillets, but in the summer we often get fresh caught pickerel. We love seafood as well, shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would be concerned about mercury, but it looks like the links that Ephie provided will tell you what you need to know.

My two simple go-to fish recipes:

White fish (cod or haddock usually) - top a filet with a mix of buttered breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, minced garlic and lemon zest. Parmesan is a nice add in to this as well. The flavorful topping is a nice complement to the light flavor of the fish, then bake until opaque

Salmon - place a few tablespoons of honey and enough soy sauce to cover the bottom of a small baking dish in the baking dish. Whisk with a fork or small whisk to blend, then marinate salmon skin side UP (so marinade is touching the flesh, not the skin) for 15-30 minutes. Flip it over so it's skin side down and bake at 350 until opaque.

I don't LOVE fish but I try to have it once every week or so.

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answers from Norfolk on

I love fish and seafood in general.
Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, lobster, shrimp, crabs, salmon, tuna, haddock, cod, tilapia, trout, smoked eel, squid, etc are all great!
But I don't care for sardines, kippers or anchovies.
I like it better without bready or batter coatings - adds/soaks up a lot of fat and I like to taste the fish not the coating - although I'll have it that way every so often.

My favorite way to cook it is to take some cod or haddock fillets (tilapia is ok, too), lay them in a microwave safe baking dish, add some lemon juice, 1 or 2 pats of butter on top, sprinkle with garlic powder, lightly salt and pepper, then cover it with Saran wrap (slice 1 hole in it to release steam) and microwave it till it's flaky and well done (thawed will take less time than frozen).

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answers from Spokane on

My family loves Talapia (a white, flaky fish). I usually bake it.

We also like halibut, salmon and wall-eye. The kids and my husband even eat trout but I don't care for it.

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answers from Chicago on

I'm a vegetarian, but my hubby and kids love fish. They eat shrimp about once a week, and they eat clams, langosteins and mussels on a regular basis over pasta. I'd also say they eat battered fish (haddock, cod or tilapia) almost weekly.

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answers from Boca Raton on

The frequent tuna would concern me greatly . . . any fish that large is potentially exposed to alot of mercury that is now in our oceans (ugh). And that doesn't even address BPA issues in the cans.

It upsets me that we have screwed up our oceans so badly. :( Fish should be a wonderful source of lean protein.

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answers from Washington DC on

no one else in my family likes fish so i don't even try. i only get it if we eat out.
but i'm with you. i don't like fishy fish. tilapia and haddock are good.
ETA wow, riley! great stuff!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Duluth on

I just had to respond, because we had the EXACT SAME ISSUE. I approached my doctor with it, and she said my son should be limited to one can a week due to the mercury. Any of the bigger game fish--that eat other fish--accumulate mercury and should only be consumed once a week. Smaller pan fish, or bottom feeders (shrimp) can be eaten more frequently because they don't have as much mercury. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a number of years, and salmon to me is an acquired taste. Friends would frequently go to Alaska for the salmon runs and bring home packages of salmon. I could deal with it in small amounts, but I think it makes a BIG difference who's cooking it. I think salmon takes a lot of experimentation, and that gets expensive fast. Personally, I think the best fish is the freshest fish, and if you're in MN, that means walleye or panfish, most likely, unless you really like pickled northern or stuff like that!



answers from New York on

Try making her chicken salad, shrimp salad or salmon salad.

As for your tastes, salmon to me is very fishy. Try some swordfish and ahi tuna.



answers from Madison on

I LOVE fish! I grew up in MN and went fishing all the time. Panfried, freshwater fish in butter. Or lightly breaded and deepfried, then eaten with a bit of cocktail sauce (gives the fish flavor a nice punch).

Unfortunately, since moving to WI and away from the lakes, I rarely get to have freshwater fish anymore. I love salmon (fresh salmon baked/broiled with lemon and butter and pepper on it, or made into salmon patties (from a can)), tuna (I love the albacore), and shrimp (we make either jambalaya or sauteed with butter, onions, and parsley). I used to love scallops but discovered I can't have them anymore (along with quite a few other ocean fish). I can have crab and lobster, but I don't care all that much for them and don't have them very often. I prefer to eat my fish as is/prepared and don't like a lot of breading and/or marinades/sauces on them.

In terms of mercury--yes, I would be very careful as to how much fish you feed a young child. Is she detoxing at all? That is, do you put flaxseed or chia seed into anything she eats? Or give her spirulina, chlorella, celery, parsley, cilantro in what you feed her (they all naturally remove heavy metals)? How about giving her Milk Thistle (sily marin)? I believe you can open the capsules and put it in food. If she's going to get a lot of fish, then she needs to be detoxing the heavy metals out of her body.



answers from Dallas on

I love ahi tuna - peppered and seared. Tilapia is a standard as well - either in fish tacos or with lemon pepper and wilted spinach.
I also make Pad Thai with shrimp (granted, the Pad Thai mix comes out of a box, but I add fresh veggies!)



answers from Washington DC on

Love fish, prepared all ways. I love a big slab of salmon baked with cajun seasoning or adobo, and drizzled with olive oil. So simple, so healthy, so tasty!



answers from Columbus on

I would say to do some research - I just did a quick search and the amount you're serving her seems fine. It says the albacore tuna is actually higher in mercury; altho it all has traces.

Check the FDA website and see what they say.

As for me, I love fish. I will eat just about any kind if cooked properly and not all dried out. I prefer fresh and unbreaded but that's just me. EXCEPT, when my church has their fish dinners during Lent - oh my gosh - i love that fish - it's beer battered or something!! Our Knights of Columbus guys take great pride in their fish and rightly so!! lol!!

Good luck!!

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