The fish is a nutritious and delicious food, but it must be fresh fish. The fact that the fish you eat with your family is fresh is much more important than many other foods. The most important thing to remember about using fish and shellfish is that they must be totally fresh. They deteriorate quickly, so to enjoy them at their best, buy only what you need, store it with care, and use it as soon as possible.
Choose Fresh Fish
Looking closely for freshness: Look for clear, bright eyes and moist, shiny skin. The gills, if present, should be bright red, and the scales should be difficult to remove. When pressed with a fingertip, the flesh should spring back easily. The fish should smell fresh and clean.
How to Choose Fresh Fish?
- Round, white fishes: Large round fish, such as cod, are usually sold cut into steaks, cutlets, or fillets, with or without the skin.
- Flat fishes: Large flat fish, such as halibut or turbot, are sold whole or in fillets or steaks. Small fish such as flounder are sold whole or in fillets.
- Oily fishes: These include salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, and sardines, and are sold whole or in fillets. Oily fish are an important source of omega-3 fat acids, said to help prevent heart disease.
“Crimping” a fillet: If a fish fillet becomes slightly limp on the way home from shopping, revive it in the way that anglers do, by “crimping” it. Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) sea salt to 4 cups (1 liter) water in a bowl. Soak the fish in the icy saltwater for about 15 minutes.
Packing with ice: Speed up the chilling of fresh fish in the refrigerator by placing ice cubes or crushed ice around it. Alternatively, fill two plastic bags with ice and seal, then place the fish between them. Make sure that you remove the bags before the ice has melted.
Freezing Fresh Fish
- Glazing: To keep fish fillets moist in the freezer, first open and freeze the fresh fish until solid, then dip briefly into iced water. A thin covering of ice will form over the fish. Whole fish can be dipped twice in order to produce a thicker ice layer. Then wrap the fish and freeze.
- Labelling: Always clearly label fish packs before freezing with the date they were frozen. Whitefish has a storage life of 12 months; oily fish, six months. Cooked fish dishes keep for just three months in the freezer.
- Refreezing: Check with the supplier that fish has not been previously frozen. It is not advisable to refreeze fish.
Tip: If you need additional information about fresh fish and fish cooking recipes, you can find what you are looking for in the “tags” below.