Fish, chicken, and eggs are the lean proteins that dominate a bodybuilder’s food prep menu. They’re packed with muscle-building amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. While protein sources like chicken make for a great at-work lunch option, second-day fish on the other hand may bring out the “fishy” flavors and not taste as fresh.
The good news is Chad Belding, outdoorsman, hunter, chef, and author of “The Provider Cookbook” is here to show you how to not only make your fish taste delicious every time but instruct you on how to choose the highest quality fish in the market. (Along with step-by-step instructions when catching fish in the wild).
“Learning through all my travels through North America, South America, and Europe, I was always intrigued by passionate cooks, and I always wanted to be unorthodox in my approach in everything I cook,” says Belding. And being a hunter, fisherman, and conservationist, Belding learned very quickly how important it is to know where your food comes from and how to live off the land.
This is where the “provider mentality” was born and the Provider brand was initiated. Belding says “The Provider Cookbook” has been an almost three-decade journey of being inspired by passionate outdoors men and outdoors women from all over the world.
It’s time to get to know your fish, where it comes from, and how to make it taste incredible.
Follow These Steps to Find the Highest Quality Fish in The Grocery Store
If you want high-quality, protein-packed fish, grabbing the first fish you see in the store isn’t the way to go. The best way to purchase fish through a retail outlet or grocery store, “is to develop a relationship with the butcher or seafood specialists,” according to Belding. Thankfully, most grocery stores will employ a qualified seafood and fish specialist, and you will be able to ask any questions you have.
- Ensure that your selection is caught in the wild and not farm-raised.
- Look for the freshest fish according to the “sell by date.”
- Look for a consistent premium color and try to avoid any bruising or discoloration on the fish.
- Finally, get to know your different classifications of shellfish, freshwater fish, and saltwater fish, and use your best judgment to choose the highest quality.
Belding feels the best fish is the freshest fish, “but there are simple ways to grill fish in a meal prep fashion that can be used in vegetable and rice dishes, as well as salads throughout the week,” he says. So, when food prepping is the goal, always start with wild caught, fresh fish. Next, use seasonings and rubs that bring out the best taste of the fish while adding delicious pops of flavors from mild to spicy. And of course, keep your fish dishes refrigerated until you’re ready to enjoy.
Quick Fish Grilling Tips
- Make sure your grill is clean and free of debris before grilling—this will keep your fish clean.
- Oil your grill and/or fish—this results in an easy lift-off and minimal sticking. (Unless you’re grilling the fish in tin foil).
- Choose fishes that are best for grilling—although all fish is grill-worthy, some cuts and varieties are more forgiving to grilling mistakes such as tuna, salmon, mahi-mahi, swordfish, and halibut.
Here’s How to Get the Best Out of Your Wild-Caught Fish
When catching fish from the wild, first and foremost, the immediate care of the fish is imperative for the freshest tasting fillet. “Getting the fish filleted and on ice is key in ensuring the perfect flavor and texture when the final recipe is put in motion,” says Belding. He adds that “keeping the skin on and trying to prepare the fish from its freshest state is key to boosting the overall experience.”
Try this flavor-packed Seared Tuna Medallion Recipe from chef Chad Belding (From the “Provider Cookbook”). This quick and easy fish dish can serve as an appetizer or served as an entrée alongside your favorite rice and vegetables.
Wild-Fish Preparation Tips
- Use paper towels to thoroughly dry the fish.
- Lay down a sheet of foil and place fish on the foil skin side down.
- For red fishes and darker colored fishes like salmon and tuna, cover thoroughly with the provider spawn rub.
- For whiter fishes like walleye and halibut, thoroughly coat with provider flakey rub.
- Add sliced lemon on top of the fish and around the foil and cover leaving a tiny slit open on the top for smoke to enter.
- Set your grill (Belding uses Traeger) to 325ºF, once the grill reaches temp, place foil-covered fish on the grill and let cook for 15 minutes.
- At the 15-minute mark, open up the top of the foil more and place 3 slices of butter across your fish and add 1-2 pinches of Himalayan sea salt.
- Remove from grill when butter is thoroughly melted, coating the fish, and let rest in the foil for 5 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of rice with a side of asparagus and sautéed onions.
Seared Tuna Medallion Recipe from Chef Chad Belding
This quick and easy seared tuna medallion recipe can serve as an appetizer or served as an entrée alongside your favorite rice and vegetables.