If you know how to choose the best fresh fish it will make all the difference to your seafood cooking. Unless you’ve actually caught the fish yourself, you need to check certain things to make sure the fish is fresh. If you know what you are looking for, buying the freshest fish is an easy task.
If you are buying a whole fish, look for bright and clear eyes. Dull eyed fish might be safe to eat but they are definitely past their prime. Turns out the eyes are the window to check if your fish is really fresh. In addition, look at the fish itself. Is it shiny? Does it have a metallic look and is it clean or is it dull and have discolouration? The shinier the fresher. Next smell the fish. Under no circumstances should fish smell really bad and trust us cooking won’t improve that.
All fish fade as they age. The shine and vibrancy of the fish will give you much information about how fresh the fish is. If the fillet still has skin then checking the shine of it. It shouldn’t be dull. In addition the smell test is vital for fillets. They should not have a very unpleasant smell. Another thing to look out for is liquid on the flesh of the fillet. The liquid should be clear as if it’s starting to look milky this is an early sign of rot. An additional way to check is (if the fishmonger lets you) press the fillet with your finger. You indentation should disappear, however if it stays put – move on.
The best way to choose live fish, crab, lobster and other seafood is just how lively is it? Is it swimming around happily or is it sad and in the corner barely moving? If it’s happy it’ll taste better no doubt about it. Lobsters and Crabs starve themselves when they are in tanks. Which means if it has been there a few weeks by the time you crack it open it will likely be almost empty inside.
Shellfish should only be bought at reputable fishmonger sources/markets. An important thing to note is that shellfish are sold alive so they should be reactive. If you put one on a countertop and tap the shell it should close tighter than it was (especially with clams and mussels). You can also tell if shellfish are dead by cooking. If after the cooking process some are still closed – it is important to discard of these. Scallops are a little different. Those scallops you see wallowing in milky ick? Those are not to be bought. Better to buy frozen,vacuum sealed scallops.
The Fish Shop
When it comes to the shop. A fish shop should never stink. Fantastic fish is always available at Quinlan’s fish shops. Find your local fish shop here.