Lemon Makes All The Difference In Your Fried Fish Dishes

fried catfish with lemon
fried catfish with lemon - Christina Musgrave/Tasting Table

Whenever you order a fried fish dish, you probably notice it comes with lemon wedges, even when you never asked for them. There's a reason why lemon wedges are so commonly served with fish dishes, especially fried fish dishes: Lemon just makes all the difference. A squirt of lemon is one way to add flavor to fried fish. This flavor pairing works well because the acidity and citrusy tang balances fried fish's briny taste beautifully.

You may notice fish tastes less salty after a squirt of lemon juice. Lemon juice helps cancel out any strong, fishy, or overpowering sea flavors. The reason is that lemon juice and other citrus fruits brighten the food they touch, adding a refreshing zest. Lemon is so refreshing that a squirt can also act as an odor neutralizer, so the fish you're eating doesn't smell as fishy either. Lemon and fish are such a perfect pairing that you'll even find chefs cooking fish over citrus, or adding lemon juice to the marinade or brine for the fish. Sometimes, like when preparing ceviche, we also cook fish sans heat by soaking it in lemon juice.

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Lemon And Other Citrus Fruits Elevate Fried Fish Dishes In Many Ways

lemon and fried fish
lemon and fried fish - 4kodiak/Getty Images

Thus, lemon plays a huge role in fried fish dishes. The next time you see lemon wedges served with classic dishes like delicious catfish nuggets or the iconic fish and chips, do not regard them as mere garnishes. Instead, pick up a wedge of lemon and squirt it liberally over the fried fish.

If you're wondering if other citrus fruits can be used instead of lemon to pair with fish dishes, the answer is yes. Take this beer-battered fish tacos recipe, for example. Tasting Table's recipe developer, Michelle McGlinn, recommends adding lime zest to the fish and lime juice to the accompanying chipotle crema. When serving her dish, she ensures there are plenty of lime wedges to go around. As a final touch, she adds lime salt to the fried fish, adding a pop of welcomed acidity and salinity. In the world of fried fish dishes, citrus fruits, especially lemon, make all the difference, from masking unwanted fishy odors and flavors to adding a pop of color and a balancing tangy flavor.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.