8 Best Tasting Saltwater & Freshwater Fish To Eat | Beginner’s Guide

Let’s be honest, seafood is an acquired taste. And for some people, the flavor and the overall texture of the fish can be off-putting. It’s more of an acquired taste. And so, you need to make sure that you are starting with fish that are known to be pleasant and tasty when eating rather than jumping in the deep end of the pool and trying the wildest stuff out there.

So, everyone has their preferences but in this article, we will list the top 8 fish that almost everyone likes because of their texture and taste.

So whether you’ve never tasted seafood before or if you are just trying to get your friends and family to try out seafood for the first time, any fish from this list will be a good starting point for them.

I’ll divide this article into 2 sections – saltwater fishes and freshwater fishes because the taste of the fish varies a lot depending on what kind of water they are from.

Best Tasting Saltwater Fishes For Beginners

1. Halibut

Halibut is the perfect fish for beginners. It has a hint of sweetness and it is also very lean while also having very low oil. So you won’t have a distinctly fishy taste that you might not be used to yet. In general, though, any fish that has a lot of oil in it will have more of a taste. I’ve talked more about how the oil content in a fish is related to its taste and texture in my salmon article. Check it out below.

With Halibut though, you have to be careful not to dry it out too much. Things like grilling, smoking, etc. will dry the fish out more quickly than you realize. So make sure you’re keeping an eye out for that.

Besides that, you shouldn’t worry about preparing it in other ways like poaching, broiling, baking, searing, etc.

It is very hard to go wrong with anything when you’re cooking this fish.

2. Swordfish

They say the Swordfish is like the “steak of the sea.” So if you like eating steak, you will also like eating Swordfish.

It is exactly how you imagine it to be – meaty and a very dense texture.

The best part about this fish is that it remains moist after cooking and you get a mildly sweet taste with every bite you take. Kind of magical when you think about it.

And just like steak, it tastes best when you cook it on a grill or pan-fry it.

3. Salmon

You knew this was coming. Sushi’s are the best way to get used to eating salmon. And not just that, it is one of the best fish out there to get started with seafood.

Most people will say that salmon is the best-tasting fish out there. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But when you think about it, it is very easy for salmon to be delicious.

It has that rich and fatty taste. I cannot think about any other fish that taste’s better than salmon off the top of my head. And the texture of it, soft and subtle, that just makes the whole thing even better.

You can prepare salmon in any way you prefer. But the best way would be to either pan-frying it, grilling it, or searing it.

4. Cod

Let’s say you’re more of a chicken person and don’t like eating steak too much. Maybe it’s because it is too thick or you have to work too hard to eat it. Who knows, you just like eating chicken more than you like eating steak.

You can try Cod then, it is called the “chicken of the sea.” And just like chicken, Cod is white, delicate, and flaky.

But you have to be careful when buying it because it is easy to get low-quality Cod. But once you buy the best quality cod, you’ll immediately recognize it by the hint of butter you’ll get with every bite. Pretty hard not to notice that.

The best part about cod is that just like chicken, you can cook it any way you want. You can poach, broil, fry, grill, etc. however you cook it, it will always be tasty.

5. Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi is the opposite of cod. It has a taste similar to swordfish and tuna. A mild fishy taste I mean. And the texture is subtle with large flakes.

I recommend trying swordfish before you try Mahi Mahi. That way, you can get an idea of what you should expect from this fish. But once you’re tried swordfish, you absolutely should give Mahi Mahi a chance because just like cod, it is pretty hard to mess it up.

You can grill it, fry it, or even bake it.

6. Chilean Sea Bass

Yes, I know the name sounds like this fish might have a sketchy taste. And it makes total sense because freshwater bass tastes like sh*t, no cap.

But you’d be judging the fish by its name because this taste’s nothing like the freshwater bass. It is one of the least fishy-smelling and tasting saltwater fish out there.

Not just that, it also has a very high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in it, meaning it is very good for your heart and brain.

The Chilean sea bass has a form texture that also feels very meaty. It has a mild taste to it but you also get a bit of sweet taste with every bite you take. So there’s no way you won’t like this fish.

And just like cod, you cannot go wrong with any way you cook it. So grill it, poach, steam, or pan-fry it, you’ll love it!

Best Tasting Freshwater Fishes For Beginners

7. Walleye

Walleye is very similar to cod, the only difference is that it comes from a lake and cod comes from saltwater. And just like cod, walleye is also considered the chicken of lakes.

It has that mild freshwater fish taste and the texture is similar to cod.

You don’t have to work too hard to make it taste delicious. Just like cod you can either bake it, grill it, fry it, etc. and enjoy it.

8. Freshwater Trout

You have to make sure that when you’re buying the freshwater trout, they are fresh. And that applies to all the seafood that you buy.

If you’re trying to introduce someone to seafood who has never had it before, I wouldn’t recommend freshwater trout as the first thing you serve them. You can serve other fishes on this list to make their palate acceptable to the taste.

This lake trout will be kind of a shock to them if you serve it first. And it might turn them away from seafood which is not what we are looking for.

Whenever you are buying any fish, especially white fish, you want to make sure that you are buying it as fresh as possible or buying it frozen. That freshness ensures that you get the best flavor out of it. As it gets older, the fishier it gets and the unappealing it gets to eat them.

When cooking, you should keep in mind that you are not overcooking it. Fish that have less oil in them tend to dry out very quickly so you have to be careful of that. The drier it gets, the more unappealing it will be for you or anyone else to eat it.

Once you see that the fish is starting to flake and the center of the fillet is getting slightly opaque, that’s when you know that you have cooked it enough.

How do you get that fishy taste out of the fish?

All the fishes above will have little to no fishy taste or smell. But the most important thing you can do to avoid that fishy taste is to make sure that you are buying the freshest fish possible. You should buy either fresh or flash-frozen fish to guarantee that you don’t get that taste.

And if you are worried about any umami flavor when they first start eating fish, you can supplement your fish with lemon. It compliments almost any seafood meal out there. The best thing you can do is marinate your fish in lemon and when you’re serving, you can add lemon wedges on the side so people can squeeze more lemon on it if they want.

You’ll be surprised how many people love to have some lemon sprinkled on their fish to add that extra taste to it.

Getting Used to Eating Seafood

As a beginner, it will take you some time to get used to eating seafood on a regular basis. But you have to know that it is one of the healthiest diet choices you will ever make. With the high amount of selenium, omega-3 fats, and other important nutrients that are present in almost every fish you eat, you will not only be fortifying the health of your brain and heart, but you’ll also be reducing a ton of ailments that you would’ve had to face when you got older.

Not just that, you also get to experience a completely new type of cuisine that you’ve never had before. And starting with this list that I’ve made for you, there’s no way you won’t love eating seafood.

Who knows, you might start to experiment with more seafood like crab legs, lobsters, etc., and seeing if you like them as well.

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