Useful Tips for Perfectly Preparing and Cooking Seafood

If you’re new to cooking seafood, you’ve come to the right place. The great thing about fish and seafood is that they are often prepared in the simplest of ways. This means you can rapidly prepare a delicious meal, and you’ll find yourself eating it more frequently than you anticipated.

Before you begin cooking, let’s review the fundamentals of fish and seafood selection and preparation.

1.    Frozen or fresh?

One of the most common myths is that fresh fish is preferable to frozen fish. This is not always the case. Why? Because most fish is frozen on board, your “fresh fish” was most likely previously frozen.

When deciding between fresh and frozen fish, consider your location. Do you live within 100 miles of the coast or the Great Lakes? If this is the case, purchasing fresh fish is a smart choice, as long as the fish you purchase is local.

Lobsters are a classic example: they don’t travel well, and eating live Maine lobster on the West Coast isn’t a good idea – they’ll be in poor condition and cost twice as much as the same crab in Bar Harbor or even New Jersey.

2.    How can you identify and purchase fresh fish?

The quality of a product, such as fish, must be evaluated twice: once at the market and once at home when preparing it. What smell and appearance should quality fish have? What qualities should you look for when purchasing fresh fish? The following is a starting point for what you should know to avoid unpleasant surprises.

  • Smell it

The smell is mild and reminiscent of seawater, iodine, and saline solution. This is what you should smell when approaching a fish department. Cleanliness is a sure sign. Consider what would occur in your kitchen if you failed to clean scales or entrails; within a day, the smell would become unbearable.

Pay special attention to shells; when they lose their freshness, they smell like ammonia. The gills of fresh fish have a bright red color and a salty smell because they are still soaked in seawater. As time passes, the gills become yellowish and begin to smell unpleasant.

  • Look closely

Fresh fish stands out. Fish are surrounded by skin mucus, which makes them shine. Even when thawed, all fish turn pallid.

Fish color varies; when fresh, it has a greenish reflection that frequently turns blue; and in the light, it has a distinct reflection. In the case of shellfish, the shell must be firmly attached to the body and free of dark spots.

The fish’s eyes reveal a lot: a clear, bulging, slightly rounded eye with a black pupil indicates freshness. Sunken eyes and a gray pupil, on the other hand, indicate that the fish is no longer fresh.

3.    Marinate for better taste

The secret of every good fish and seafood specialty lies in the aromatic marinade that gives it a juicy taste. If you want to save time and make a quick and delicious meal, you can always get high-quality marinated seafood products from reputable online suppliers.

The main goal of each marinade is to soften and spice up the meat with the help of essential ingredients such as vinegar, lemon or orange juice, beer, wine…

Another key ingredient is water, which gives the marinade quantity, followed by olive oil. Let’s not forget about garlic, which gives a special flavor, as well as salt. Other optional ingredients include rosemary, bay leaf, basil, and thyme.

A very important rule to follow while marinating fish is to reduce the marinating time from the recommended half hour to 15 minutes if the marinade contains a lot of vinegar or lemon juice because too much acid decomposes the fish flesh.

It’s also a good idea to preserve the marinade in glass or plastic containers, rather than aluminum because aluminum reacts negatively with acid. Don’t forget to keep them in the refrigerator.

4.    More useful tips

  • If the scales are difficult to remove, soak the fish in boiling water for a minute or pour vinegar over it.
  • To get rid of the fish odor, pour a little vinegar into the fish’s mouth. Quickly rinse the fish with water. Add salt, rub with lemon juice, and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
  • When cooking fish, add a cup of fresh milk to the water. This will soften and lighten the meat. Make a few notches in the skin with a knife to help the meat absorb the aroma and cook faster.
  • If you add a little salt to the oil, the fish will not stick to the pan.
  • Because fresh shrimp spoil fast, they should be preserved on the day of purchase.

 

Fish and seafood should be on your menu at least once a week, and if you follow these guidelines, you will be able to identify high-quality fish and cook nutritious meals.

Choose wisely, and best of luck!