How to Use Leftover Fish
Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Don’t throw that fish away! Here are 10 ideas to give it new life so that you can eat happily ever after.
There are some things that we’re happy to embrace in their leftover form — that we may, in fact, intentionally make in large batches and revisit all week.
Seafood is a different story.
Perhaps you learned this the hard way — you popped some leftover salmon in the microwave, only to fill your kitchen with a rank, fishy smell. Or maybe, in a fit of Panglossian optimism, you took home some leftover sashimi (why were there leftovers?) and let it get gummy in the back of the fridge because you were too scared to eat it and too guilty to toss it.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Fish needn’t be a one-night affair, when you have a perfectly lovely evening but must expunge all traces by the next morning. Learn the basics of working with your leftover fish and it will meet you halfway, and then you’ll eat happily ever after.
The first thing to know about using leftover fish: Be careful with reheating. Let there be no quick nukes in the microwave and no second shots at pan-searing — such forays will only dry out your fish and leave your kitchen with a smell that makes you want to order take-out. If you must use direct heat, make it very gentle and very brief.
This above all: No fish dish shall be the same twice. Your salmon filet cares not for how blissful dinner was last night; it simply will not behave if you try to relive the past. Instead, it will urge you to re-imagine it and all you thought it could be. You can adapt many recipes that call for fresh fish and turn them, instead, into homes for your leftovers — just make sure you do so within a day or two of first cooking. We’ve got 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Give fish a second hoorah at taco night by either gently bringing it to room temperature or quickly reheating it in a sauté pan.
2. Add it to a chowder or soup by flaking it and stirring it in just before you eat.