How to Shop for Fresh Fish
Love fresh fish? Want to know you’re getting your money’s worth when you dish out for the good stuff? Check out these professional tips for getting the most out of your next shopping trip to the fish market.
As I recognized in a previous article on affordable seafood, certain types of fish just aren’t the same after freezing. In that same article, I promised to track down someone who was in the know about shopping for the good stuff and pass their inside tips along to you. Leslie Barnes stepped up to the plate. As the owner of a popular NY seafood restaurant, London Lennie's, Les spends a great deal of his time shopping for fresh fish. Here are his top tips.
Look for firm flesh.
Fresh fish is firm, not soggy. Sogginess is a good indicator that the fish or seafood in question has been processed, which is typical for fish that was not of a high quality to begin with.
Beware of buckets.
If it comes in a bucket, it’s more than likely you are not getting fresh fish. Pre-packaged = processed. When in doubt, check with your retailer.
Look ‘em in the eye.
Clear eyes on your fish signal a recent catch and are a sign of freshness. Cloudy eyes on the other hand, let you know the fish has been on the shelf a couple of days.
Brightly colored flesh is best.
When shopping for seafood with colored flesh, the brighter the better. Fresh fish have flesh that is vibrantly colored. Bright red gills are another excellent sign that your fish is fresh.
Does it bounce back?
If you are allowed to handle the fish (or at least touch it with a plastic glove over the counter), any indentation you make with your hands should spring back immediately. Springy flesh = fresh fish.
There you have it. How to shop smart for fresh fish. I don’t know about you, but when I’m planning on dishing out for the good stuff, I want to know that I’m actually getting the good stuff. These tips have me armed with the knowledge I need to make a savvy seafood purchase.
Related Resource: This instructional video from Les Barnes' restaurant, London Lennie's, features a simple scallop dish that I think would be ideal for any romantic evening at home. The ingredients list is short, keeping the focus completely on the quality seafood. Add a nice bottle of wine and your side of choice for an affordable fireside date night.