Seafood is one of the most versatile and nutritious protein enriched foods on the planet, regarded as one of the leanest natural health foods in the world. Choosing the right variety of seafood, in particular fish, is still quite a challenge to any consumer. The following are tips on how to correctly purchase, handle and prepare seafood.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FISH
There are many varieties of fish. For the most part, they are mild in flavor even though their textures may vary greatly. Something also to consider is how you plan to prepare the fish. Most fish are fine for the outdoor grill, in particular the medium to firm textured ones, like salmon, tuna and swordfish. Flaky-textured fish are especially well suited for frying, as in fish and chips. Other fish are excellent pan sauteed, such as the delicate sole (flour dusted) and the medium-textured catfish (Cajun style). We believe there’s a fish for every palate and occasion.
1. For a fish with a flaky texture, try:
- Local Halibut
- Orange Roughy
- Pacific Red Snapper (more pronounced flavor)
- Sand Dabs
- Petrale Sole
- Salmon (richer flavor)
- Louvar (richer flavor)
2. If you desire a firm, steak-like texture, try:
- Yellowtail (more pronounced flavor)
Smell the Product:
Before making your selection, please follow these simple guidelines.
The first characteristic of freshness is its odor, it should smell like a "fresh ocean breeze" and not "fishy". It's flesh should be moist, firm, and have a fresh-cut appearance.
Taking the Product Home: Having made your purchase, the next step is to safely transport your seafood home. Seafood will only stay fresh if kept in the SAFE zone (32 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit), so please ask for an ice pack for the journey home. Never leave fresh or frozen seafood in a hot car, it will definitely make the seafood unsafe to eat. "Danger Zone" is 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A good simple rule to remember is treat seafood as if it were ice cream and don't leave it out of the refrigerator!
SAFELY REFRIGERATE: Upon reaching home, unwrap the seafood, rinse it under cold running potable water, gently dry with paper towel and store it in an airtight container. Then, place the container in the coldest part of the refrigerator. For optimum flavor, texture, and natural nutritional benefits, place store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use. Use fresh seafood within two days of purchase. If it is necessary to freeze fresh seafood, freeze it immediately and use it as soon as possible.
COOKING There's really no secret about cooking fish properly; it's in the timing. The secret to cooking seafood is, not to overcook it! Fish is done when the flesh has begun to turn from translucent to opaque or white and is still moist, and just to the point of flaking. An easy rule for cooking fish is ten minutes per inch of thickness, meaning, five minutes on each side.
OTHER SEAFOOD In addition to the many varieties of fish, there are numerous shellfish and crustaceans available that are easy to prepare and versatile in their use. Shrimp and scallops are quickly and easily pan sautéed or skewered and grilled; and, along with oysters, are excellent in the fryer. Steaming or boiling mussels, clams, cockles, oysters, shrimp, crab and lobster is simple and delicious.
Always wash shellfish before cooking, and discard any of them whose shells do not open after cooking. And, as with fish, remember not to overcook.