The One-Bowl Secret to Thawing Frozen Fish

There’s a shift making waves in the seafood world: it’s suddenly smarter to choose frozen fish over fresh. Most fish in the freezer section are frozen right after they're caught, and you don't get much fresher than that. If you’re not pro-frozen fish (pro-fro fish?), you're probably eating it anyway: 85 percent of the seafood we eat is imported, and 70% of imported fish has been frozen at some point. And if you’ve ever craved wild salmon in the dead of winter or live nowhere near a fresh seafood supplier, you're probably relieved or even excited by this news. The only downside is obvious: you’ve got to thaw the fish.

While there are some varieties of fish that cook fine without even being thawed out (lean fish, like tilapia and cod, can go straight from the freezer to the roasting or sauté pan), it’s often best to fully thaw the fish before cooking. But how? Leaving it on the counter all day at room temperature leaves the fillets prone to food-borne bacteria—which might cause you to sleep with the fishes. Sure, you can thaw fish gradually in the refrigerator. But if you had the time to do that, you wouldn’t still be reading this, would you?

No, you need a quick thawing method that won’t accidentally par-cook some of the fish fillet's thinner parts (we're looking at you, microwave). So here's what you do instead: Prepare a large bowl of hot water, place the frozen fish into a resealable plastic bag, and submerge the bag in the hot water for 5 minutes. If the bagged fish starts bobbing around, use a small bowl to weigh it down.

Then just pull the fish out of water (see what we did there?) and check to see if it bends easily. If it does, you're all set to cook. If not, just throw it back in the water for another minute or two.

Once the fillets are thawed through, they're ready for broiling, baking, or pan-searing—whatever floats your boat.