Everything A Beginner Needs to Cook Seafood


At Wholey's, we believe that anyone at any time can learn to become a great cook with the right ingredients: a little know-how, exceptionally fresh meats and seafood, and, of course, sparking your inspiration to explore an entirely new world of delicious delights. If you've never tried to cook seafood on your own before, we're so excited to be able to assist you in creating delectable dishes that you may fall in love with.

The fantastic thing about cooking fish and seafood is that it does not have to be complex to bring out succulent, sweet, and umami flavors. Most people prepare fish and seafood in the simplest ways for a quick, easy meal that you might soon realize you'll be eating and craving more than you initially thought.

In this beginner's guide to cooking seafood, we'll share simple techniques and recipes that will have you cooking up a mouth-watering, quick, and easy dish you'll love to make.

Start With The Best

When you're a beginner cook, using poor-quality fish or seafood will unfortunately lead to less-than-stellar tasting dishes, which may contribute to many people's aversion to seafood. You don't need to journey to some seaside dock and get it fresh from the boat to get high-quality seafood and fish. You can find premium quality seafood here at Wholey's, as we are happy to do the work to ensure our products are top-notch and freshest possible.

Myth: Fresh, Never Frozen, is Better.

One of the biggest misconceptions you may run across in your learning to cook journey is recipes and chefs insisting fresh seafood is a must as it is better than frozen. In most cases, the fish in other markets and grocery stores advertising 'fresh fish' have arrived frozen and thawed for consumers to purchase. Why?

As soon as fish are caught, they are frozen directly on the boat, as fish frozen directly at the moment of catch are preserved in their best quality, allowing fishermen to distribute their catch over a much larger area without compromising flavor and freshness.

In the case of some seafood, lobster mainly, they do not travel well if not frozen as soon as caught, so those who do not live near this delicacy's origin will get higher-quality lobster frozen than thawed.

Proper Storage and Fish Odor

Luckily, it isn't difficult to store your fish, but it is a bit different than storing other meats. To preserve the freshness of your fish, skip the plastic container or freezer bag and opt for a container filled with ice. The bag method is suitable for only two or three days while placing a fish or piece of seafood in a container and burying it with ice in the fridge for up to five days—but no longer. It is also not recommended not to put fresh or thawed fish and seafood back in the freezer as this can heavily and negatively impact the flavor and texture of the seafood when cooked.

If you absolutely must freeze your fish, the best way is to vacuum seal it. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, use plastic wrap to individually wrap the fish tightly, and then store it in a freezer-zip up or zip-closure bag with as much air removed as possible.

Are you worried about a fishy odor in your fridge? Fresh, high-quality fish and seafood should have little to no odor. So if you bring home a piece of seafood from your local market and find it smells very fishy, there's a good chance that the piece of fish is not only not fresh but possibly beginning to go bad.

How to Cook A Piece of Fish

In some cases, certain fish at Wholey's are ready to cook with no additional preparation from you needed. We offer whole fish, but for easy cooking, we also provide perfectly prepared, filleted, or steak-cut and cleaned fish and seafood ready to go whenever you want to cook it.

Easy Season and Sear Recipe for Fish with Tips and Tricks:

One of the quickest and least complicated recipes for a succulent, juicy piece of seafood is to season it and pan-sear it on the stovetop. You can choose to use just salt and pepper or hand-mix a unique seasoning blend, or you can go the ultimate and convenient route and rely on Wholey's Fish N Fin seasoning, which is expertly mixed to heighten and complement any piece of seafood.

Before pan-searing or pan-frying a piece of fish, remember to:

  1. Thoroughly pat dry your fish or fish fillet using paper towels to ensure spices stick well and create a perfect, deep golden crust.
  2. Don't cover the fish as if you do in a pan; you'll steam it instead of creating a crispy, golden crust.
  3. Steady temperatures will help to ensure your fillet is cooked to perfection. A meat thermometer may be a significant investment to help.
  4. Leave it alone! Please don't move the fish around in the pan, flip it more than once, or fiddle with it. Allow it to fry, and it should release naturally from the pan.
  5. The best pan to sear or fry fish is a cast iron pan, not non-stick, because non-stick can't handle high heat.

Pan-Seared Fish and Seasoning:


  • 2 tablespoons of high-smoke point oil such as grapeseed, safflower, peanut oil, clarified butter, or canola oil
  • For Fish Seasoning: In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Take your fish out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking.
  • Heat a cast iron pan over high heat. While the pan heats, pat the fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle or rub the fish seasoning on both sides.
  • Pour your oil into the center of the pan and swirl to coat. If it begins smoking, remove it from the heat until it stops.
  • Place the fish fillet, if it has skin, skin-side down; if there is no skin, lay it on the side where the skin used to be. The moment the fish hits the pan, give the pan a jiggle so it won't stick, then turn the heat down to medium-high for a thin fillet and medium for a thick fillet. It should sound like sizzling bacon.
  • Using a spatula, press down for 30 to 60 seconds, as fish tends to arc when it's seared.
  • Don't touch the fish; let it cook undisturbed for at least 1 minute. If you have a bass fillet or fish steak, you may need to leave it to cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Any small fillet generally does not need to be turned to cook; thick cuts should have a browned ring around the sides before turning.

Crustaceans: Lobster, Prawns, Crabs

Crustacean seafood, or shellfish seafood, is easy to cook, as it only requires seasoned water and boiling. You can use a variety of pre-packaged seasonings labeled for crab boils, or you can start simply by using just salt. How long it takes to boil lobster, crabs, or prawns depends on their weight.

Don't be afraid to cook your next mouth-watering seafood dish with these tips and tricks; feel free to experiment with different seasonings to find the flavor combination you love. If you're ever in doubt, feel free to check out our excellent Resources page, where we have several delicious recipes for Meat and Seafood that can help you fall in love with food and cooking all over again.