April 01, 2020
It is often said that cooking is an art, where baking is a science. Where you might want to measure out baking spices for a new cake recipe, that isn’t the case with seafood. When it comes to the best fish seasoning spices, the world truly is your oyster.
However, you don’t want to use just any cooking spices, as the spices for fish fillets you have at home can vary depending upon what type of fish you are going to be preparing. Seafood spices and herbs don’t have to be expensive spices, but you will want to ensure that you are using spices that aren’t past their expiration date.
When shopping for herbs spices for fish, you will find that there are plenty of options from all over the world. There are even many gluten-free spices. While this isn’t a list of the top 50 spices, you will find good spices for fish of every kind on this list.
Are you ready to learn about the best spices for fish so that you can easily craft an incredible and healthy meal? Keep on reading and you will soon become a master of seafood spices.
1. The Best Spices for Salmon
Salmon traditionally goes well with savory flavors that come from herbs and spices such as garlic, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. However, there are plenty of different flavor combinations that salmon benefits from. While salmon does have a distinct flavor, you should not be afraid to try a few different culinary approaches to this healthy fish.
Here are a few of our favorite blends, rubs, and spices for Salmon:
● Potlach Seasoning
Potlach seasoning is a classic standby for cedar-planked salmon. However, you can also bake your salmon when using this delicious blend. While you can buy a fancy pre-made potlach seasoning, you are likely to be able to find the following spices in your pantry to make your own affordably and easily.
To make a potlach seasoning, you will need:
- 4 parts kosher salt
- 3 parts chili powder
- 3 parts black pepper
- 1 part ground cumin
- 1 part crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 part celery salt
- 1 part garlic powder
- 1 part onion powder
- 1 part dried oregano
Once you have completed your seasoning, rub it on the meat of the salmon with the skin on, and cook to your preference! Easy, and delicious.
● Sugar Spices
Sugar-based seasoning blends also go excellently on salmon. For these recipes, you can use a base made of maple syrup, honey, fruit juice, or brown sugar. These sweet flavors are used often in Asian salmon dishes, so Asian spices can be used with these sweet concoctions as well. For these marinades, it is important to have a balance of salt, fat, and acid in addition to the sweetness.
Our favorite maple-glazed salmon recipe covers all the bases by utilizing maple syrup in addition to orange juice, along with a bit of Asian flare. To make this glaze, you need the following:
- 1 part canola oil
- 4 parts maple syrup
- 2 parts orange juice (preferably fresh-squeezed)
- 2 parts soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- Ground ginger to taste
- Minced garlic clove to taste
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Once you have made your glaze, marinate the salmon (skin-removed) on both sides before cooking in a pan. Reserve some of your glaze to add on top of the salmon later.
● Mediterranean Spices
Spice blends and recipes inspired by the Greek isles and other parts of the Mediterranean pair perfectly with salmon. These blends have the added benefit of being supremely healthy. Seafood is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and Salmon is a perfect match for their style of cooking.
To make the perfect salmon using Mediterranean spices and ingredients, use the following recipe:
- For Salmon:
- Freshly ground pink Himalayan salt and black pepper
- Thinly sliced lemon
- Thinly sliced red onion
- For Topping:
- 1 part extra virgin olive oil
- 1 part lemon juice
- Minced garlic to taste
- Dried oregano to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 parts cubed feta
- 4 parts halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 part sliced kalamata olives
- 1 part chopped Persian cucumbers
- 1 part chopped red onions
- Freshly chopped dill to taste
Roast seasoned salmon with lemons and onions, skin side down, in a baking dish until opaque and flaky. While the fish is roasting, gently mix together ingredients for topping in a large bowl. Serve plated salmon topped with feta mixture.
2. The Best Fish Spices for White Fish
There are many different options when shopping for white fish. When shopping for spices for fish, you can often shop based on the category of fish rather than for a specific type of fish. When you do this, you should look for fish that is the freshest and in-season. You can also shop based on price.
Any kind of white fish will give you a nice, flakey result. It can be easily roasted, fried, baked, or sauteed. You can use cod, flounder, halibut, sablefish, or rockfish. While you may often associate these types of fish with battered dishes such as fish and chips, they go excellently with many different spice blends, as well.
Due to the mild flavor of white fish, it goes excellently with spicey spices and savory complex flavors. We particularly like to use Thai spices, Japanese Spices, and Korean spices when cooking white fish. When experimenting with white fish, you should not be afraid to use any kind of hot spices such as cajun seasonings.
Here are our favorite spice blends to use on white fish:
● Thai Blend
Thai food is known for its bright, citrusy flavors and for also packing a bit of heat. Flakey white fish is often featured in broths of coconut milk and Thai curry. For an easy and approachable take to Thai seafood flavor, use this recipe:
- Chicken or Vegetable stock for base
- 1 part finely chopped Palm Sugar
- 4 parts lime juice
- 3 parts fish sauce
- Chopped fresh garlic, to taste
- Chopped fresh Thai chilies, to taste (be careful!)
- Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
After dissolving the sugar in the stock base, mix in the other ingredients. This should be a sweet and sour sauce with a punch of garlic. Spoon over steamed white fish, preferably whole, but fillets will work as well.
● Traditional Japanese Nitsuke
Nitsuke, or “boiled”, fish is a traditional and simple dish in Japan. This soy-based flavoring creates a thick, brown sauce that coats the white fish leaving it savory and a bit sweet. It is excellent served with rice and steamed vegetables.
To make this recipe, you will need:
- 2 parts soy sauce
- 2 parts sake
- 2 parts mirin
- 1 part sugar
- 2 parts water
- Fresh ginger, thinly sliced with skin removed
Mix ingredients together in a saucepan before adding fish fillets and boiling, covered, under medium heat. Serve over steamed white rice.
● Korean Honey Glaze Fish
Korean food is known for its sweet, savory, and hot flavors and this blend brings all of those to the palate. This honey glaze works perfectly on white fish and allows the flakey texture to really shine through.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 parts honey
- 2 parts rice vinegar
- 1 part gochujang
- 1 part white miso paste
- Soy sauce, to taste
- Chopped fresh garlic, to taste
- Grated fresh ginger, to taste
- Toasted sesame oil, to taste
Cook your white fish under the broiler after brushing it with the honey glaze. After cooking, pour the rest of the glaze on top of the fish while still hot. This recipe pairs excellently with steamed broccoli and white rice.
3. The Best Spices for Tropical Fish
Tropical fish are characterized by their thick, meaty cuts and more robust flavors. These fish hold up well to cooking over high heats and are often enjoyed rare when very fresh. Because of their heartiness, they are also a common replacement for red meat or poultry in sandwiches and burgers.
Tropical fish include Tuna, Mahi Mahi (otherwise known as Dolphin), and Sword Fish. These fish pair well with tropical flavors such as pineapple and mango, and spices from tropical places such as Caribbean spices and African spices.
Here are a few of our favorite island-inspired spice blends and recipes for tropical fish:
Mojo is one of the key ingredients in Caribbean cuisine. To make a good mojo, one must be flexible and use the fresh herbs and spices on-hand that go best with the dish being prepared. A Mojo marinade can be use on meat, fish, and poultry, but each preparation should be fine-tuned to highlight the rest of the dish.
For a mojo, you need citrus acid. Traditionally, limes and oranges are what are used most often. You will also need fresh garlic, herbs, and spices.
Below is our favorite recipe for a mojo perfect for tropical fish:
- Juice of one small lime
- Juice of one small lemon
- 1 part grated fresh ginger
- 1 part white pepper
- 3 parts minced fresh garlic
- 1 part thyme
- 1 part green seasoning (a paste made from a blend of fresh herbs – you can make your own to taste)
- 1 part chicken bouillon powder
- Salt to taste
Combine the ingredients and soak fish fillet for a few minutes before preparing the tropical fish in a skillet over medium heat.
● North African Fish Topping
North African flavors are inspired by both the Meditteranean as well as traditional African dishes. The result is something herbaceous and floral with a punch of heat.
Our favorite North African fish recipe is as follows:
- 3 parts olive oil
- 1 part harissa (a North African chili and spice blend)
- 1 part chopped preserved lemon
- 1 part chopped olives
- Fresh chopped garlic clove, to taste
Blend ingredients in a food processor and spread on freshly-grilled tropical fish.
● Tropical Pan Sauce for Fish
Finally, let’s look at a simple and bright pan pauce that will work perfectly with lightly breaded fillets of tropical fish.
For this recipe, you will need:
- Flour to coat fillets
- Seasoned salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 parts butter
- 2 parts olive oil
- Large handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 parts white grape juice
- 4 parts heavy whipping cream
- 4 parts fresh or canned tropical fruit medley
- 1 part chopped macadamia nuts
Cook lightly-floured tropical fish fillets in butter and oil in a pan over medium-high heat to your preference. Once cooked, use the pan oil to saute fresh cilantro for 1 minute. Deglaze pan with grape juice and reduce. Add cream and reduce. Stir in fruit and season to taste. Serve on top of fish with chopped macadamia nuts.
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