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More and more recipes seem to turn up that tell you to rest fish before serving. Not for very long, but still. That seems not right to me. You rest meat to reabsorb juices and relax,so it seems more tender. And to even out temperature differences.

Fish is a completely different kind of "meat", and I don't see why resting would help here. For one, the cells have less tough walls, so it is tender anyway. And the temp issue seems less important as well, being less dense than meat.

You could argue that dense fish flesh, such as monkfish, is more like meat, and therefore resting is necessary, as I have heard. But that seems a very dubious reasoning to me. But the chefs on the same level as Ramsay propose to do this...not that these chefs are necessary right and up to date with the WHY's of what they do, of course.

Would resting fish change the its taste or texture in any noticeable way?

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    I made some slight changes to make the title an actual question and made the question less contentious and more objective. Feel free to edit it further if you think I have change the meaning of your question in any way. – Jay Feb 3 '16 at 20:21
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    It depends on how you see the resting processing working... I often think of resting fish in the same way I deal with folded eggs in a wok... During the wok cooking process I don't seek to cook the fish all the way through, but almost all the way through. The residual heat from the outside layers of flesh will cook the middle for me. With folded eggs, the egg mixture is left just a little runny, and by the time the egg reaches the table, the residual heat will have cooked the runny egg mixture rather than cooking the item all the way to "completion" and then having some of it over cooked. – Adrian Hum Feb 4 '16 at 1:57
  • Yes, but that is more or less stopping before you overcook things really. And I doubt if heat distrubution is as quickly in fish as in eggs, and if resting say two minutes really makes a difference to core temperature. Futhermore, I can see heat distribution working if cooking in a wok, which is cooking a very short time with extremely high temps and small pieces of food. A very different way from cooking whole fish or fillets in an oven or a pan. – Marc Luxen Feb 4 '16 at 9:10
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Would resting fish change the its taste or texture in any noticeable way?

No, in short. The only mention of 'resting' of any fish is from the Lophius genus (aka Monkfish, Angler fish). It is suggested to allow the monkfish to rest if you are going to slice it before serving to reduce the amount of liquid released.

I would suggest to portion the fish before cooking, and serve asap after cooking.

I think mainly the term 'resting' for fish is inappropriately used, as the fish is actually undercooked and the carry over/residual heat completes the cooking before it is consumed.

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I rest fish so it isn't as dry and has time to soak up some of the seasonings in the juices. I can't think of any other reason.

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Resting meat so that it will reabsorb its juices is a myth and results in cold meat. There is a big difference between resting meat, that is letting it cool, and holding meat in a warming oven, which should be avoided. There are many reasons why you should not rest meat: 1. it continues to cook, 2. it can get rubbery, 3. it does nothing for the juices unless you get it cold enough that it will congeal, hardly what you want to do when serving meat, 4. usually the meat will spend considerable amount of time on a plate in front of a diner before it is eaten.

I never rest my flank steak or any of my other steaks when serving them at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. And those steaks always come out juicy and delicious.

Keeping this in mind, I never, ever rest my fish. Why? Because I want it out to the diner while it is still hot, while it is at its peak. (Pet peeve is when diners wait to eat the food put in front of them until everyone of them is served. Usually at my restaurant, we have tables of no less than 8 to 12 people and this will mean cool food.) If you want juicy fish, or meat, for that matter, cook it right. My fish is always juicy and tender and perfectly cooked, not overcooked from resting. I am careful how I cook any meat but doubly so when cooking fish. I always take it out when it is 5 to 10 degrees cooler than my target temperature. And with delicate fish, I often use a coating or a cooking technique such as en papillote or en croute to protect the fish, which are also coatings of sorts.

And don't forget, the slower you cook a piece of meat, the less bunched the protein will be. Cooking meat at high temperatures, makes the protein bunch into a hard "knot". Slow cooking allows the protein to stay stretched out and tender. Also, with roast, cut against the grain. With fish, do not overly handle the fish. Avoid turning if you can. I hope this helps. See: http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/mythbusting_resting_meat.html for reference and also see this article as a counter example: http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/how-to-have-juicy-meats-steaks-the-food-lab-the-importance-of-resting-grilling.html

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    Perhaps it doesn't reabsorb juices per se, but rested meat does release less juices when cut. See for example seriouseats.com/2009/12/… which you even linked to yourself. I don't see how you can justify saying it's a myth at the top of the answer given that. The "mythbusting" article you link to addresses some of this, and points out that overcooking is far worse than lack of resting, but it's clearly not a black and white "it's a myth" conclusion in all regards. – Cascabel May 18 '16 at 16:27
  • I've been a professional chef for 12 years now and I've been cooking for over 50 years. I say resting meat does nothing at all for or to the meat. There is no reabsorbing of fluids. Think of it this way, you've just cooked the cell structure, there is no capillary action by the cells to reabsorb any liquid. When you take meat out of the fridge, cooked or raw, the liquids are cold and cold blood will become a jell. After resting the meat is cold, the juices coagulated. So, if you want to serve your customers cold meat, go ahead. – Mark LaPolla Jun 7 '16 at 15:25
  • Okay, well a bunch of very knowledgeable people with a lot of experience think it matters, so we obviously can't decide based on "authority". And again, I'm not saying it necessarily reabsorbs liquid into cells, I'm just staying that there appears to be pretty clear evidence that in some situations, some amount of resting results in less liquid being released when the meat is cut. That doesn't mean you're wrong in general - that's not necessarily all situations, and it doesn't even mean it's best to rest even when it does reduce liquid release, but it does mean it's not purely a myth. – Cascabel Jun 7 '16 at 15:32
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Fish needn't be rested unless you are sure it is slightly undercooked, and then you should transfer the fish onto a warmed plate and cover with foil for a few minutes. Cooked meat is rested typically because it spikes in temperature.

  • The question asks whether it affects the texture or taste of the fish... your answer does not address this at all. – Catija Jun 28 '16 at 23:06
  • Resting fish as indicated does not affect the texture nor taste. – Frederic Kahler Jun 28 '16 at 23:08
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    Then use the edit button to add that to your answer... as it stands, your answer does not answer the question and is at risk of being deleted. – Catija Jun 28 '16 at 23:10
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Yes! If you've cooked the fish just to the point where it "flakes easily with a fork", then you need to let it rest for a minute or two at room temperature to let it firm back up a bit. You don't want to have to eat it with a spoon!

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