How Do You Bring The Freshest Fish to The Table?
Fish is one of earth's natural wonders and has satisfied our palates since the beginning of man. Their flesh is light and delicate, lean and is packed with protein, the anti-oxidant vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. All play a role in keeping our hearts and immune system functioning as it should. The most popular fish we consume is tuna, salmon, flounder, Pollock and cod. But considering there are about 25,000 species of fish, there is enough variety of edible fish for the most discriminating taste. But how do you know when you are bringing the freshest fish to your table?
When you approach the fish market, let your nose be your guide. Really fresh fish has a very light smell. If it has a strong fishy smell pass it up. It may have been processed incorrectly after being caught. If the fresh catch from the fishing boat has equipment to flash freeze the fish, when it arrives to you it will not have that strong smell. You should also check the date the fish was packaged (especially if you are purchasing at your local supermarket). Fishy smell will permeate even through plastic. Don't buy it.
You will also want to have a look around. The market and the staff should be very clean. The fish should have that just caught look. Not that slimy feel. The eyes should be bright and shiny, not dull and sunken. The gills should have the redness around them. These are all signs of freshness. Another sign that your fish is not fresh is that when you take your finger and press the flesh the indentation remains. Fresh fish will not do this.
When you bring your fish home, use it within two days. Fish deteriorates very quickly. Much quicker than beef or chicken, so make sure that when you use it, it's almost right away. Your health is very important so feed your body and be safe.
Now if you are one of the millions of avid fisherman and prefer boating and catching your own fish, then freshness is generally not a problem if you follow some basic rules. It's quite simple. Ice! Whether you have a fishing boat or pleasure craft, all boats can have an ice packed cooler. So bring home the catch, put on a hot frying pan or turn on the grill and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Freshness is the most important thing about your next aquatic culinary meal and your family will love it.
How can you tell when your fish is cooked? The most common mistake is over cooking. When the fish changes color and it is uniform all the way through, it is done. Don't go a minute more. You will make a rubbery mess. You want your fish to maintain it's moisture and you can do that with vegetable oil or butter. Below is a great example of a moisture rich fish recipe.
2 1/2 pounds red snapper fillet with the skin
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning blend
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes or regular tomatoes chopped
(if you like anchovies you can add them)
1 quart chicken stock fresh or from a container from your supermarket
1 loaf crusty bread
Season the fish with salt, pepper and seafood seasoning. Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil & garlic. Add snapper, skin side down and cook for 3 minutes or till golden brown then flip the fish for further cooking. Add wine then add chopped tomatoes and stir in chicken stock. Stir the mixture gently so you do not break up the fish. Bring the broth to a simmer and cook another 3 to 5 minutes to combine the flavors.
Serve the fish in bowls with lots of broth. Serve with plenty of crusty bread. Enjoy!
About the author
Philip G. Jones