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Healthy Eating for PN with Chef Bill Nolan

Turn to Fish for Healthy Eating!

Go fish.

The thought of cooking fish scares a lot of people because they think it is difficult. Folks are afraid that they will overcook it and ruin it or undercook it and get sick. RELAX! The purpose of this post is to dispel some of your fears and convince you to start eating more fish on a regular basis. Like almost everything in cooking, if you can remember a few key points you will be on your way to cooking and eating fish every week.

Let’s Talk Cod

This month I am going to feature cod, as it is readily available, has a nice mild flavor, and is particularly hard to ruin. Cod has a high-water content, so when you are purchasing it keep in mind that the pieces will shrink as they shed water during the cooking process. Do not be afraid to select larger pieces for this reason alone. Cod is normally sold in filets and loins. Filets are usually the entire side of the fish, with tapered ends. Beware that the ends, being thinner, will cook much faster than the thicker sections.

Loins are the middle of the filets and are the thickest section. Loins are considered the prime section of the fish.

How to Cook Fish

Simple is best when cooking fish, so I will give you a few tips and tricks if you feel like cooking some, even on a weeknight. One of the advantages of fish cookery is that to cooks rapidly, so you can have a meal in no time at all.

To simply prepare cod pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Take a sheet pan or cookie sheet, and line it with parchment paper. Take 2 lemons and slice them to about ¼ inch thickness. I like to place one lemon below the fish and one on top. For seasoning, you can use simple salt and pepper, Old Bay, which is a seasoning mainly for seafood and sold in most supermarkets, or lemon pepper. 15 minutes in the oven is about all you will need for your cod. This last part is the most important: if you do not have a reliable food thermometer buy one. The only way to make sure that food is safe to eat is to take the temperature of it. For fish it is 145 degrees. Now, a thermometer serves two purposes, and each is just as important as the other. You always want to cook your food to a safe temperature, but you also want to cook it to the best temperature for eating quality. Fish cooked to 145 degrees is not only safe, but also at its best flavor-wise.

And Enjoy!

Cod is high in protein, low in fat, low in sodium, and contains vitamin B12, which helps nerve function. Cod also contains omega 3 fatty acids, an essential fat.

Happy Cooking,


More about Bill

Bill Nolan, a professionally trained chef and current owner of Nolan Hospitality, a food-focused company based in Darien, Illinois, has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant and education industries. Passionate about food and health, Bill believes in the diet-lifestyle-health connection and loves to share his knowledge with others through writing, classes, and presentations.

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