With frozen fish fillets on hand, a meal can be assembled and on the table in short order.

The key question is: Defrost, or start to cook them up straight from a solid state?

The answer most often depends on the recipe. When fillets of white-fleshed fish are headed for a soup or sauce or other liquidy endeavor, no defrosting is necessary — and it’s often easier to cut them into chunks while they are still firmly chilled.

I find that roasting an inch-thick piece of cod or halibut often goes better when it starts from frozen, too.

For this simple dish, reducing the moisture of the fish will promote browning and help preserve the cod’s true texture as it cooks in the pan. So defrosting is in order, and here are the ways I prefer to go about it:

1. Overnight. Remove the fillets from their vacuum-sealed packaging; this is a must, and this link will help explain why. Place on a plate in the refrigerator.

2. Quickly. Remove the fillets from their vacuum-sealed packaging (see above!) and place in a reusable plastic/food-safe waterproof bag. Seal, pressing out the air, and immerse in a bowl of tap water until pliable.

When you choose the latter option for this recipe, you can use the downtime to char the scallions, make the vinaigrette and prep a side dish — multitasking any home cook can master.

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