Cooking Fish and Shellfish

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The muscle tissues of fish and shellfish react to heat much as beef and pork do, becoming opaque, firm, and more flavorful. However, fish and shellfish are distinctive in a few important ways, above all in the delicacy and activity of their proteins. They therefore pose some special challenges to the cook who wants to obtain a tender, succulent texture. Shellfish in turn have some special qualities of their own; they’re described beginning.

If it’s more important to produce the safest possible dish than the most delicious one, then the task is simpler: cook all fish and shellfish to an internal temperature between 185°F/83°C and the boil. This will kill both bacteria and viruses.