We’ve all heard the mantra that when it comes to seafood, fresh is always best. But did you know you can actually select seafood that is too fresh?
Alex Stollznow, tour guide at the world-famous Sydney Fish Market, says choosing the best seafood is an art – and that includes knowing how to avoid buying fish too soon after it’s been caught.
“Seafood that is too fresh is very much a thing,” Alex says.
“Every meat we eat we rest. Steak is usually 150 days dry-aged to allow the connected tissues to break apart which makes for a tender, flavourful piece of meat and the same goes for fish.
“The magic number for fish is 72 hours after catch. So if you purchase a whole fish and it’s still as stiff as a board, it’s not quite ready to be cooked.”
While it’s still OK to purchase your fish straight off the dock, Alex says holding off cooking it could be the difference between a tasty and not so tasty result.
“Take it home put it on a plate and cover it with cling wrap, then place it in the coldest part of the fridge for a day or two,” Alex says.
“Make sure the fish is then flexible through the spine and relaxed. It will make for a much more flavourful fish.”
So if you're planning on dishing up fish on Good Friday, makre sure you keep the state of the fish in mind when purchasing it.
Get the full king fish ceviche recipe, here.
So what are the tell-tale signs you should look for to know you’re buying the best seafood your fishmonger has to offer? Here’s Alex’s fail-safe guide for choosing your fish.
The exterior: It should be bright and shiny with lustrous skin. There should be a thin glossy coating of slime on the outside of the fish and which is consistent and even.
When a fish goes bad you will see it dry out in patches and get gluggy, both of which are signs that it has been out of the water for a long while.
The eyes: They should be full and clear. While cloudy eyes can be a sign the fish has been resting directly on melting ice made from tap water containing chlorine and fluoride, doesn’t necessarily mean the fish is bad so the best indication is to look at the shape.
They should be shaped like a freshly cracked egg yolk and look bold and upright, projecting outside the line of the eye socket
Blood and gills: Anytime you see blood whether it’s on the gills or a fillet of the fish, the bloodline should be nice and red, as bright a red as possible. The gills should look a pinky, purple colour. Brown, grey or black gills means it’s no longer fresh.
The smell: The one overall tip for choosing fresh seafood is the smell. Get your nose as close as you can without touching it and give it a big smell. If you smell anything off-putting don’t buy it. It should smell salty and briny and fresh.
So if you're planning on dishing up seafood on Good Friday, make sure you keep the state of the catch of the day in mind when visiting your fishmonger.