Life Stuff: What you need to know before cooking fish

Cooking with fish can leave your kitchen smelling like the ocean! A couple of quick tricks before you prepare your meal will help eliminate any lingering fishy odors. Our expert in the kitchen, Chef Monica of Chef Monica Blends, shows us how it’s done! And she’s even given us a recipe you can try at home. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Tip #1 – Buy fresh: The first key to dialing back the stink when you cook is making sure that you’re buying fresh fish. Buying fresh means you skip out on any added colors or preservatives. Talk with the folks behind the counter at your local grocery store. And remember that if you thaw frozen fish you should not refreeze afterward.

Tip #2 – Marinate with acids: Cut down on odor by placing your fish in a zip-bag with lemon juice and let it marinate for 20 minutes before cooking.  Acids are key in helping to draw out those fishy smells. Citric acids will fill your kitchen with pleasant smells while you cook! Other key players you can use to marinate fish are fresh pineapple juice, almond or coconut milk, and even hot sauce.

Let’s cook! Check out this recipe:

Gluten-Free Pan-Seared Cod with Lemon Caper Sauce 

Serves 4 

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time 20 mins  


  • 1lb. of thick-cut Cod Fillets (4) 
  • 2 Tbsp. Chef Monica ® Herbed Citrus Blend 
  • ¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice, divided2 Tbsp. for the Fish and 2 Tbsp. for the sauce 
  • 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) 
  • ½ cup Crisp White Wine  
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Thyme 
  • ½ Fresh Lemon, Sliced  
  • Thin Slices of Red Onions  
  • 2 Fresh Garlic Cloves, smashed  
  • 1½ Tbsp. Capers  
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Parsley  
  • 3 Tbsp. Cold Unsalted Butter 



  • 1 cup All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour 
  • Coarse Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste 
  • 2 Tbsp. Chef Monica ® Herbed Citrus Blend (optional) 
  • Reserve 1 Tbsp. for sauce 



  1. Preheat oven to 350°FMarinate the cod filets in 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and set aside for 20 minutes. 
  1. In a separate bowl, mix the seasoning and gluten-free flour ingredients together.  
  1. Next, pat the fish dry with a single-use paper towel, then season with Chef Monica Spice ® Blend. Dredge the filets in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess flour. 
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add EVOO and sauté cod filets until golden brown on both sidesNext, drain any excess oil from the skillet and prepare to make the lemon-caper sauce. 
  1. After fish has been sauteed on both sides, place in the oven to allow it to cook all the way through if needed.  
  1. Remove the cod from oven to a serving dish and serve with lemon-caper sauce. 
  1. Lemon Caper SauceTurn the cast iron skillet up on medium-high heatAdd the reserve 1 tablespoon seasoned flour, onions, garlic, capers, thyme, and whisk together. Add crisp white wine and remaining lemon juice to deglaze the pan and 1-2 tablespoon of water if needed. Boil liquids and reduce to about half. Turn off the pan, remove from heat, whisk in cold unsalted butter, until sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove sauce from heat and hold for fish service. 

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