Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Common Seafood Questions Answered

Here are the most common questions I get here about seafood so I thought I would address them here in one post. Fresh fish seems the major concern.

When does fish go bad? When fish goes bad is determined by the temperature it is stored at. At minus 10 degrees F or below it can last up to 12 months, at 30 degrees F about 7 days, at 40 degrees F (approx normal home refrigeration temp) about two to three days.

How fast does fish go bad? Typically it will last in home refrigeration two to three days after brought home from the market. Temperature is always the key to how fast fish goes bad, the colder you can keep fish the longer it stays consumable.

When is fish bad? Whole fish is bad when the eyes get cloudy and the gills get brownish in color, always look for clear eyes and ruby red gills when buying fish whole or having one filleted or steaked out. Cut fish is bad when the flesh does not spring back from touch, the flesh is opaque and/or has an ammonia type odor.

When is fresh or wild salmon season? People often ask for fresh salmon when they mean wild salmon that is why I included both terms. Typically wild salmon season runs from first of March to late November although some species are available late into winter. My advice is to always buy Alaskan salmon, if it is not available fresh, frozen Alaskan salmon is just as good, the process they use often makes the frozen salmon actually fresher than the "fresh" salmon you buy in market.

Is seafood better for you than red meat? Yes, it is recommended you have two to three servings of seafood a week compared to one of red meat, and yes pork is included in red meat despite their advertising it as a white meat. There is just so much good nutrition you can obtain from seafood that you just can't get from any other single food source, plus it is a high-grade protein.

How does fish go bad? Fish goes bad by not keeping it at the right temperature or for too long, or both. Keep fish refrigerated below 40 degrees F and it will keep up to three days if it was fresh when you bought it.

I know a lot of these questions seem repetitive, but I felt they approached the same concern from different angles and should be addressed that way. Most people are concerned about the freshness of fish because of safety and health concerns, but remember this; seafood is the single safest product in your grocery store, it's a proven fact. Buy smart so your fish is fresh when you get it, keep seafood refrigerated properly, consume within three days of purchase, and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal.

If you have any seafood questions that was not answered here please post it in comments and I will be glad to answer them for you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Broiling Seafood - You Know, That Other Knob on Your Oven

I stole that title line from Emeril, it's in reference to the fact that many people never use the broiler or know how to for that matter.

To me, broiling is just grilling inside your oven, the same basic principles apply, and you get a similar result with your seafood.

It is best to use cuts of fish that are 3/4 to one inch in thickness, as thinner cuts are easy to over cook. Fish steaks work great as they will have an even thickness. Steaks are cross-section cuts of the fish and, therefore, will contain the backbone and some rib bones of the fish. The bone in adds extra flavor to the fish, similar to bone in a roast, and the meat easily separates from the bone after cooking. If you are shy of bones in your fish, a nice thick fillet will work fine.

A marinade is always a good idea for broiling or grilling especially with more delicate fish. I use a simple one of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh lime juice, and a fresh herb like thyme. You could use lemon or orange juice, and most any fragrant herb works. Do not marinade for more than 40 minutes as the citrus will start cooking the fish, I usually go about 15 minutes and it works well.

Place the fish on the broiler rack so that it is 3 to 4 inches below the heat source. Follow the 10 minutes per inch rule turning about halfway through the cooking time. Once you turn the fish, brush, dab or squirt with a little of the marinade to keep moist while it finishes up. I would under cook salmon slightly, and of course Ahi tuna requires only 1 to 2 minutes a side.

This should produce a nice moist flavorful fish. Always have your sides ready to go as seafood will overcook or dry out if you try and keep it warm while you finish up.

The next time you feel like grilling and the weather isn't cooperating, don't forget about the other knob on your oven. Broiling is a great way to prepare your seafood.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Classic Recipe: Trout Meuniere Amandine

Here is one of my favorite sauteing recipes, especially for trout. However it can be used for almost any mild flavored pan fish you want to try it with.

Almonds can be optional if you have a problem with nuts, or you could substitute pecan pieces and other crushed or ground nuts. Experiment and have fun with it.

2 - 6 to 8 oz. fish fillets

1/2 cup seasoned flour (salt and pepper to taste)

1/3 to 1/2 stick of butter, or equal amount of olive oil with a couple of pats of butter added.

2/3 Tbs of minced parsley (about half the amount if you use dried)

1/3 Tbs of fresh lemon juice (or just a nice squeeze)

1/3 Tbs of red wine vinegar or white wine (a splash)

1/3 cup of roasted almonds, you can roast your own if you like but I use the packaged variety, also you might try smoked almonds as well.

Give the fillets a quick rinse and pat dry.

Dip the fillets in seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet and saute fillets about 4 minutes a side.

Remove fish from the pan. Add lemon juice, vinegar or wine, and parsley to pan an heat until butter foams. Add nuts to butter then pour mixture over fish.

This is a true classic and you have just got to try it. If you can't find trout use tilapia, bass, snapper or whatever you can find that fits in your pan. Enjoy!