Milk. It Does a Fish Good.

by Elizabeth on January 24, 2013

I was browsing through an old copy of Cook’s Illustrated and came across one of the best tips I’ve heard in awhile-soak your fish in milk before cooking to remove any fishy flavor.  If you get your seafood from a reliable source and know what to look for when purchasing you shouldn’t come across the fishyness problem too often, but sometimes it’s hard to tell – I’ve noticed that occasionally a fresh piece of seafood will develop a fishy taste once it’s cooked. (FYI- while unpleasant, it is not harmful – to read the science behind this and why milk neutralizes see here.)

Some tastebuds are more sensitive than others but if you’re someone who detests this kind of thing then I highly recommend trying this technique – I tested it out this week by comparing two fillets of freshly caught striped bass that I packed in ice and stored overnight in the fridge (to maximize the effect).  The next night I soaked one piece in half n’ half (since that’s what i had on hand but any milk product will work) for twenty minutes and left the other one as it was (no milk). Then I patted both dry and pan roasted. The result – While the no-milk piece of fish did not taste overly fishy to begin with, there was definitely a subtle trace of that funky flavor profile that the milk-soaked fish did not have.  I’m curious to try this with other types of seafood so I’ll report back but overall I’d say it was a big success. 


If you can’t find high quality fish locally or just want assurance that what you’re eating is actually what you ordered, one online retailer I really like is Vital Choice.

Here’s a sustainable seafood guide that’s organized by region and includes mercury info. The charts are wallet-size so you can print them out to reference on the go.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: