The Best Tips for Buying Fresh Seafood

Read these great inside tips for shopping the freshest produce.

We spoke to the manager of the Sydney Seafood School at the world-famous Sydney Fish Market, Roberta Muir, find out the best way to buy and store your fresh seafood, as well as some delicious recipes to keep up your sleeve. 

Q: What is the best way to store fresh seafood you plan to eat that night, or later that week?

A: Seafood should be kept cold at all times, so bring an esky or chiller bag to transport your seafood home or ask the retailer to pack your purchase with ice. When you get home, as quickly as possible, unwrap your seafood and put it in an airtight container or bowl. Then cover it with plastic wrap – don’t leave it wrapped in a plastic bag or paper – and store it in the coldest part of the fridge for a maximum 2-3 days - ideally at 0-4 degrees Celsius. 

Live crustaceans, such as crabs and Marron, should be eaten as soon as possible after purchase. Store them in a container covered with damp butcher’s paper or a damp tea towel and place in the coolest part of the house. Live bivalves, such as pipis and Vongole, can be stored in salty water for a day or overnight in the coolest part of the house. This helps purge them of any sand.

Q: What is the most popular fish or seafood product at Sydney Fish Market?

A: It’s hard to go past prawns for popularity – everyone loves prawns – and they’re pretty fuss-free as you can buy them already cooked. Just peel them and pile onto a big platter with a dipping sauce, or make them go further by tossing them through a salad.

Q: What is a cheap and tasty fish if you’re cooking for a lot of people?

A: I love ocean jacket. It’s a great fish to cook on the bone - there’s always more flavour when fish is cooked that way - as they are sold as trunks, meaning the head is cut off.

Q: What is your favourite quick and easy fish recipe??

A: I love a simple meaty fish steak cooked on the barbecue or in a char-grill pan served with a tasty mayo and a green salad – tuna, bonito, albacore, striped marlin and swordfish are all great done this way – and the mayo can be flavoured with fresh herbs, wasabi, horseradish, mustard or anchovies. 

[Note: Roberta recommends Char-grilled Tuna with Anchovy Mayonnaise]

Q: Is there an easy or fool-proof way to make sure the seafood you’re buying is fresh?

A: The most fool-proof way is to buy from a fishmonger with whom you’ve established a reputation – he wants your repeat business so it’s in his best interest to sell you the freshest, best seafood on the day, so that you’ll come back! Ask him what’s best on the day (and how to cook it) and be guided by him.

Fresh seafood should be intact, and have good colour and lustre. Fish should have firm flesh that springs back when pressed, bloodlines should be bright red in fillets and shellfish shouldn’t have any blackening. All fresh seafood should have a clean smell of the sea, not a “fishy” smell.

Q: Do you have any tips when it comes to shopping sustainably for seafood?

A: Australia is a world leader in fisheries management, having one of the most tightly regulated seafood industries in the world.  When buying Australian seafood, shoppers can be confident that their seafood has been sourced responsibly.

Visit the Sydney Fish Market website to learn more, and click here to view their trading hours. 

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