Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tips from the Kitchen: How to Choose Fresh Fish!

Photo via Cravedfw
As a university student who has to do a lot of grocery shopping, I often find myself at a loss when it comes to the seafood aisle. Am I getting ripped off because they know I'm a student? Is the sale worth it? 

I stumbled upon this great article on Food52 on how to choose the freshest fish and thought it'd be great to share it with all of you!
Fish Picking Tips

  • Eyes: Look for BRIGHT, CLEAR eyes. Much like when one is on a date, if the other person (or fish in this case) has cloudy, dull, sunken eyes.. move on. 
  • Scales: Fresh fish should have extremely shiny skin. Their scales should be bright and metallic - never dull! Avoid any fish that have missing chunks of scales (sign that they are past their prime) and grab fish that have tight scales, similar to chainmail.
    • If your fish is already scaled, the flesh should also be shiny and bright. If the flesh is dull-coloured, the flavour will taste like that too. This goes for fish fillets too!
  • Smell: Freshwater fish should smell like the lake, saltwater fish should smell like the ocean. If the fish has a fishy smell, then move along - it's already passed its prime. Consequently, if the fish smells like ammonia, move along.
  • Gills: Gills should be red. An old fish's gills will fade in colour and resemble a dull red colour.
  • Liquid: This is applicable to fish fillets. If the fillet is sitting in clear liquid, then it is fresh but if it is sitting in a milky liquid, skip! Milk liquid signals the first signs of rotting.
Photo via Adrian

The last tip is to trust your gut! Even if your fish passes the above basic tests, if it is lying haphazardly out on a bed of ice (or.. no ice at all), take your search elsewhere. After your prized winnings have been bought and brought home, use within 2 days to make the most of the freshness!