11/02/2011 02:12 pm ET Updated Apr 10, 2013

Kitchen 101: How to Cook Fish

Raise your hand if you love fish but only eat it when you go out. If that's you, you're not alone. We get a lot of questions from readers, friends and family-and one thing we hear over and over again is that people don't know how to cook fish. (Making tuna salad doesn't count...) And since the USDA Dietary Guidelines now recommend that most Americans eat 8 ounces of heart-healthy fish and seafood each week, it's high time you learned how to make what's actually one of the easiest dinners around.

First, ask your local fish market or the fish counter at your favorite store what's fresh and what's sustainably caught. Depending on where you live, what's freshest might actually be fish that was frozen at sea and kept frozen until it arrived at your market (just defrost it overnight in your refrigerator before using). We like to use thinner white-fish fillets like catfish, tilapia and haddock, because they only take a few minutes to cook, but really you can use any kind of fish. (See below for how to choose sustainable fish.)

Now it's time to cook. The technique is the same no matter what type of fish you have. If your fillet is big, cut it into individual portions. Then lightly coat both sides in flour that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook the fish in a bit of oil in a nonstick pan until golden brown on both sides. That's it! Jazz it up with an easy no-cook sauce, like our light and creamy tartar sauce or spicy black bean-garlic sauce, and you'll have dinner on the table in no time. See how easy that was?

How To Cook Fish

How To Choose Sustainable Fish

Download handy wallet-size guides for the best seafood choices from Blue Ocean Institute or Monterey Bay Aquarium. Or look for fish with the Marine Stewardship Council seal.

Catfish: Look for U.S. farmed catfish-it's sustainably raised in nonpolluting in land ponds, fed a mostly vegetarian diet.

Tilapia: U.S. farmed tilapia is considered the best choice-it's raised in closed farming systems that protect nearby ecosystems. Central and South American tilapia is considered a good alternative. Avoid farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan, where the fish farming pollutes the surrounding environment.

Haddock (Scrod): To get the best choice, ask for U.S. Atlantic "hook-and-line-caught" haddock-this method causes the least damage to the sea floor and has the least bycatch.