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Fish!

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
For a variety of reasons, I'll be eating a lot more fish and cutting back on red meat and some dairy products.  Although I've cooked a fair amount of fish in my day, a lot of it has been very simple, like poaching salmon or baking and grilling.  This was fine as I didn't eat fish often and my limited cooking methods were adequate.  Now I'd like to get some more exciting ideas for cooking fish and sea food, but at the same time I'd like to keep the cooking methods low in saturated fat. Using olive oil and other flavored oils is fine, and calories are not an issue.

Learning more about what herbs go best with what fish would be helpful. And recommendations for fish cookbooks would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 47
I just got one called Fish without a doubt by Rick Moonen. He's really good and there's lots of recipes from soups, to seviches, to shellfish etc.
post #3 of 47
I love fish, and at the risk of sounding like a hillbilly (which I am), I'll say fish is one of the few foods that cooks nicely in a microwave. I wouldn't use this recipe for fresh ahi tuna, but I would for frozen snapper, tilapia or other everyday fish.

I put some raw or frozen fish, cut up into pieces no more than an inch cube, with some Mexican fresh salsa (chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and chiles, like what's served with tortilla chips for an appetizer), add salt and spices, mix, microwave covered 'til done, stirring once or twice. For the spices I use an Indian or Pakistani fish masala mix. Lime juice is really good if the salsa didn't already have it. You can get more elaborate on the dish (but why, since it's microwaved). It's an easy, tasty, low fat dish that makes good use of common fish. I eat it with rice but it is really good by itself.
post #4 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonYeti View Post

I love fish, and at the risk of sounding like a hillbilly (which I am), I'll say fish is one of the few foods that cooks nicely in a microwave. I wouldn't use this recipe for fresh ahi tuna, but I would for frozen snapper, tilapia or other everyday fish.

I put some raw or frozen fish, cut up into pieces no more than an inch cube, with some Mexican fresh salsa (chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and chiles, like what's served with tortilla chips for an appetizer), add salt and spices, mix, microwave covered 'til done, stirring once or twice. For the spices I use an Indian or Pakistani fish masala mix. Lime juice is really good if the salsa didn't already have it. You can get more elaborate on the dish (but why, since it's microwaved). It's an easy, tasty, low fat dish that makes good use of common fish. I eat it with rice but it is really good by itself.


 

Thanks for the idea.  I do something similar with ther frozen cod I get from TJ's using canned, chopped tomatoes with green chiles.  I do it on the stove top though.  Never thought to make a salsa fresca though.  Good idea, and perfect for my needs.

Hmmm ... I could also make ceviche, which I've not made in years.  Double thanks for the reminder.
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post #5 of 47
i like simple ways of cooking so i usually just fry in canola oil or i steam my fish.  i usually just sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the fish as well as a healthy coating of japanese soy sauce.  i then cover that with aluminum foil and steam it for at least 30 minutes and voila... dinner is served!
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoozer View Post

For a variety of reasons, I'll be eating a lot more fish and cutting back on red meat and some dairy products.  Although I've cooked a fair amount of fish in my day, a lot of it has been very simple, like poaching salmon or baking and grilling.  This was fine as I didn't eat fish often and my limited cooking methods were adequate.  Now I'd like to get some more exciting ideas for cooking fish and sea food, but at the same time I'd like to keep the cooking methods low in saturated fat. Using olive oil and other flavored oils is fine, and calories are not an issue.

Learning more about what herbs go best with what fish would be helpful. And recommendations for fish cookbooks would be appreciated.

You might want to try sushi and sashimi. I'm much happier with raw or nearly raw fish than I am with most cooked fish.

However I do freeze it first. The USDA recommends 7 days at -4°F to kill any parasites. What I actually do is fillet, portion and vacuum pack the pieces, then bury them in crushed dry ice until they're rock-hard, then toss them in the freezer for a week.

With just a few exceptions, I've never had fish that tasted better cooked than it did when raw.

If you want to try it, my rice recipe is here. The hardest part will be finding a supplier for extremely fresh fish. I had used sushifoods.com, but the $200 FexEx bills for shipping fish across the country apparently put them out of business. Now I use Wegmans Groceries, and ask the fish guy what he recommends, and when it's coming in, then I just show up with a picnic cooler and pick it up along with some crushed ice for the trip home.

Terry
post #7 of 47
try en poppiotte(sp?) or fish in a bag. nice and healthy and retains most of nutrions. simple, just get some vegis onions, peppers or greean beans and some lemon and and garlic and butter or oil if u want, fold the edges and cook it.  we had this as a special, sold pretty well
Chef it up errrrday!!!
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Chef it up errrrday!!!
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post #8 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by web monkey View Post

You might want to try sushi and sashimi [...]  The hardest part will be finding a supplier for extremely fresh fish. 
 

Getting sashimi quality fish here is not a problem.  There are two excellent and highly regarded shops quite close by.  Thanks!
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post #9 of 47
Cool! You're very lucky!.

I had a "sushi dry spell" for about a year, while I tried to locate a good fish supplier after sushifoods closed.

Terry
post #10 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by web monkey View Post


Cool! You're very lucky!.

I had a "sushi dry spell" for about a year, while I tried to locate a good fish supplier after sushifoods closed.

Terry

 


I can't imagine getting fish - or most foods - mail order.  I want to see the fish I buy, and talk directly with the fish monger to learn what's freshest and best on any given day.  Maybe even have it trimmed to my preference.
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post #11 of 47
Depending on the fish and the cut, fresh or frozen, and what you will be serving with your fish, will determine cooking methods, sauces, etc.

I prefer cooking fresh fish, I leave the frozen Tilapia to the wife, same for frozen halibut.  Cooking fresh fish I like it simple and a little seasoning and quick marinades go a long way.  I used to cook and eat a lot of fresh fish when we lived in So.Calif then I had my own ocean boat and for 5 months of the year basically fished most Saturdays.  Sunday was bbq fish day, and we usually had fish 3 or 4 times a week, grilled, broiled, baked, etc.  The fish were salt water bass, yellowtail jacks, yellowfin & albacore tuna, rock cod, some halibut.  Something simple like 20-30 minutes in Italian dressing and then on the bbq grill is awesome for yellowtail or tuna.  Bass can be fried or baked sealed in foil with some lemon & onion slices, some herbs and a bit of seasoning, when finished you can thicken the broth and make a great serving sauce.  Cod is excellent battered and fried served with lemon and tartar sauce.   Keeping it simple generally doesn't over power or mask the wonderful fish flavor. 

Thought i would reply and encourage to eat fresh, and keep it simple
post #12 of 47
I think you could use the fish as a protein substitute in a lot of dishes, which opens up many more opportunities than simply "fish cooked another way". You could use a dry rub and grill a nice flaky fish to provide the filling for fish tacos, salmon can be blended down and then made into patties to saute in olive oil. If you haven't smoked fish, you should try it, imparts a brand new flavor and oily fish (salmon, mackeral, kingfish) make great smoked fish dip to be spread on crackers or crostini.
post #13 of 47

I just cooked some frozen pollock, with "salsa" and Pakistani curry spices, served on basmati rice. Once again it's so good. Yum.

post #14 of 47

To me fish is not one of those things you can mess around with too much - the simpler the better so I've stuck to simple grilling, pan sauteeing, and broiling and then serving with simple veggies.  My latest thing is to cook it simply with salt and pepper and then top with any myriad of fresh salsas, red pepper salsa being my favorite.

 

Here's a classic layered stew I make once in a while.  You can use any fish you like but I like white flaky fish, bass, fresh cod or halibut work great.

 

- 3 potatoes quartered

- 1 onion sliced

- 2 cloves garlic sliced

- 2 tomatoes diced or a tin of diced tomatoes

- olive oil

- parsley

- 1 bunch dandelion greens

- salt/pepper

 

1. Sweat the onion and garlic in a generous amount of olive oil then stir in the tomatoes and potatoes and season.

2. Add a half cup of water, cover, and let it simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender.

3. Chop the dandelions coarsley and stir in the stems along with the parsley.  Let them get tender.

4. Drop the rest of the dandelions on top and don't stir.  Let them wilt.  When they've wilted down a bit add the fish fillets (seasoned first).  Cover and let the fish cook through.

5. Serve the fish accompanied by the wilted greens, potatoes, and lovely sauce.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 47

For a thick fillet of just about anything, there's an easy system. Preheat your oven to 550 (or as high as it goes). While it heats, pat the fish dry with paper towels. Start heating a skillet over high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then cut in portions if desired. Glaze the hot pan with just a little oil and place the fish in it, skin-side down, and press gently in the center for a few seconds to keep it from curling too much. Sear until golden and crusted, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the fish gently and put the pan in the oven. Cook for about 3 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness and the type of fish -- test by inserting a metal skewer in the center, then touching the tip of the skewer just under your lip, and if it feels definitely warm the fish is done. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

 

Here's another method that's arguably better in flavor but trickier technically. Salt the fish all over reasonably generously, and let sit 20-30 minutes, then rinse and pat very dry. If using a whole fish, rub the fins, tail, and head very well with more salt, and don't rinse that off. Place a strong wire cooling rack, the flatter the better, in or across the bottom of a broiling tray. Place this under the broiler, about 3-4 inches from the flame, and heat for several minutes (it should be blazing hot -- you should test this in advance to be sure your rack is sufficiently sturdy for the method). Pour a high-heat oil into a little bowl, fold a paper towel and dunk this in, and then use tongs or chopsticks to quickly wipe the hot rack. Put the rack back under heat about 30 seconds to heat the oil. Put the fish on the rack and cook about 3 minutes per side, then serve at once with lemon. You will need to experiment with the distance from the broiler heat element: you want the fish done perfectly inside (i.e. hot and juicy) just when the outside surface becomes golden brown and crunchy. If you do this with a whole fish, having salted the head, tail, and fins, those parts will turn white with a salt crust (rather than burning) and everything else should be beautifully golden.

 

Basic rule with fish, if it's of good quality: cook it hot, cook it quick, and make sure the center is just barely done. What "done" means depends on your taste and the fish, of course: the various kinds of tuna are done when basically raw inside, but haddock and other white fish are best just hot and very moist.

 

Suggested book for you: James Peterson, Fish and Shellfish. The guide to fish types in the back is worth the price all by itself. This is especially useful if you have any Chinese-type markets around, because you'll see lots of beautifully fresh fish that you never heard of (a lot of what many people consider "trash fish"), and you'll want advice on how best to cook it.

post #16 of 47

This is the way I have seen most fish cooked in the many, many places I have worked in over the years and I support the method

 Fish should never be cooked dry.

When the order comes in for the fish the cook places it on a sizzler(a steel oval pan) and under the Broiler it goes, Then it is  finished in the oven.  Before service starts a  stainless steel bain  marie pot of lemon juice, water, white wine, melted clarified butter is all mixed together . Every order of fish gets this mixture put on it before going under the broiler. This procedure keeps fish moist and prevents it from burning. Many places place a lettuce leaf on top of the fish to prevent excess browning.. This  procedure applies to all kinds of broiled fish, It is idiot proof. and good. This way of cooking it applies to better places, not an Applebies or Chile type places

P/S  I hate to disillusion some of our readers,but more and more our fish is coming frozen both import and from the states if not frozen then like all the chickens frosted which extends the life of the fish. Most of the fish we get from our wholesale purveyors  was caught almost a week ago or more.Now with the Gulf situation, we will see more frozen. Where I work part time I cut about 600 pounds weekly in season of all different varieties  of fish from all over the world. This past season I have seen more and more frosted and frozen from all the fish purveyors.and when I question them , they all admit ''Yes Ed it was frozen or frosted'' They don;t lie to me because our account with them is so big.


Edited by chefedb - 6/10/10 at 1:43pm

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #17 of 47

My favorite fish of all that I've ever had was at a wedding reception in Honolulu. It was a big piece of ahi tuna (2-3 pounds) marinated in soy sauce, ginger and other things (I'm not sure what all), seared on the outside and raw on the inside. They called it Big Island ahi tuna something ... It was my favorite fish ever. It was sliced about 1/4 inch thick. After a while I saw that people hadn't taken much of it, and I munched out and got about half full on that. It was an appetizer.

 

I can't remember what all else was there, because that ahi was so good, and it was about 15 yrs ago. It was memorable.

 

I can also make something really good (to my taste) with cheap frozen fish. In my opinion, if you let the fish blend in and not have to be the only star, you can still have a really good thing. Even with frozen pollock. I know the difference, and I still say you can make really good fish dishes cooked "wet" and even spicy, as long as the fish doesn't dissolve--then you have no texture.

post #18 of 47

Ed makes a very important point I'd like to underscore. If you don't have evidence to the contrary, assume your fish is defrosted. If you ever eat sashimi or sushi in a good place in Japan, you will find the texture remarkably different -- this is because it's not defrosted (except tuna). The implications:

 

  1. Don't run down frozen fish, as chances are you're not getting much else;
  2. Be very wary about freezing fish from the market, because re-freezing is disastrous for texture;
  3. Watch out for moisture issues --- defrosted flesh can "weep" water and it can also (not coincidentally) come out very dry very easily.
post #19 of 47

The way you avoid any problem with refreezing is to buy it frozen in the first place. If you're more than, say, 50 miles from a coast, that's the only way to assure quality fish at all.

 

I know that "frozen" seems to be treated like a four letter word. But, in fact, frozen is not only more common, it is the best quality when handled properly.

 

Let's compare.

 

Unless you meet the day boats at the dock and buy the fish right off the deck, so-called "fresh" fish, when you buy it, is several days old. Starting on the boat, the fish was caught anytime from today, to three days ago, and kept on ice. It is then landed, where a processor buys it from the boat. The fish is cleaned, butchered if necessary, and otherwise processed. A wholesaler then buys it from the processor, and delivers it to you, if you're a restaurant, or to a fish market. You, as a retail customer, then go into the market and buy it. Minimum elapsed time: four days, which can stretch to a week. And that's just with locally caught fish. With imported fish it can be even longer.

 

Example: During the Copper River season, my fish monger identifies when the fish was air-shipped. For instance, when I shop on Thursday or Friday, the tag might say, "air-shiped Tuesday (date). Even assuming the fish was processed on the same day it was shipped, that makes it three or four days old. Odds are we can add at least another day for the netting and processing. 

 

How fresh is that?

 

FAS fish, on the other hand, is caught, immediately processed, and flash frozen. Elapsed time: no more than two hours. Unless you catch it yourself, it doesn't get any fresher than that.

 

Problems arise not because the fish was frozen, but in how it is handled by the consumer. Fish should be defrosted slowly, in the fridge. Despite what the "experts" say, running it under cold water effects both the flavor and texture (and there's probably a loss of nutrients as well).

 

You also have to be sure that it is FAS fish. Some unscrupulous fish mongers will freeze slow moving fish on-site, in a regular freezer. They will then sell it to you either that way, or, even worse, defrosted.

 

FWIW, by law, previously frozen fish that's been defrosted is supposed to be identified as such at the fish counter. Most reputable fish places go further than the law, and the ID tags, in addition to the price, will include info such as "wild caught," "farmed," "previously frozen," "local" etc.

 

  1. Be very wary about freezing fish from the market, because re-freezing is disastrous for texture;

 

This is problematical at best. Conventional wisdom has it to be a great truth. But is it?

 

Freezing fish in a home freezer can be the culprit, no matter how fresh the fish may be. Home freezers are slow working, and large ice crystals form. Then the fish is defrosted improperly, which increases the problem.

 

I would suggest that most of the time a piece of FAS fish that's been properly defrosted, then refrozen in a home freezer, will end up with the same texture as one that started out fresh and was frozen the same way.


Edited by KYHeirloomer - 6/11/10 at 1:29pm
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #20 of 47

I have found one thing about the preservation of fish that unfortunatly home, most people can't do  That is to Vac-pak after  skinning cutting and cleaning and keeping the individual bags on ice. Although where I work we try and figure it so it is used in 3 days sometimes we can't, and so I give it to staff dining room. .I have opened  vac pact and after 7 days while  constantly  stored on ice , fish was perfect. If you do use a lot of fish home I would recommend buying a vac sealer machine. It will more then pay for itself. Matter of fact some of the as is Dover Sole  I got in this past season came vac pact. Even though there is no more real Dover anymore all it is is 2 or 2 1/2 pound Flounders


Edited by chefedb - 6/11/10 at 1:32pm

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #21 of 47

Cheers Guys!

 

I find it refreshing to have the difficulties of putting a dwindling resource on the plate discussed from a realistic standpoint. We must produce and manage  food profitably as do our suppliers using the technology available. Snap freezing & vac-packing are efficient tools of resource management producing a safe, consistent product ultimately more reliable than the 'fresh' route described by KYH. If I have truly fresh fish it is a joy to serve it but are you all going to turn up right then and order the fish?....tick..tick..tick...?

If it means we can sustainably manage our fisheries I think is is a social responsibility for diners' to put their faith in the skills & judgement of Chef....ask me no questions I'll tell you no lies!

"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."
Allen Saunders, 1957.
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"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."
Allen Saunders, 1957.
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post #22 of 47

Steam a whole fish chinese style. Simple and really good.

 

http://rasamalaysia.com/steamed-fish-recipe/

post #23 of 47

KYHeirloomer and I are, as usual, entirely in agreement and disagreeing vehemently about small details.

 

My point about re-freezing is not just conventional wisdom, but it does depend on some assumptions -- reasonable ones -- about what's been happening. In my experience, defrosted fish in the average supermarket has not been thawed under ideal conditions, i.e. very slowly at just-above-freezing temperatures. More often, what's done is to take the fish and sit on top of lots of ice and then let it sit out for several hours. The result is that it absorbs a large quantity of water as it thaws. When you re-freeze, especially under home-freezing conditions, this absorbed water only assists the whole ice-crystal formation problem. The end-result is fish whose various structures have been shattered by freezing and expanding.

 

More generally, however, it's not just conventional wisdom. You sort of have to spend time in a place where truly fresh-off-the-boat fish is idolized to see it, however. With certain very limited exceptions, such as certain varieties of tuna, deep-freezing even under ideal conditions degrades the texture of fish. There isn't really any question about this. Re-freezing under home conditions only subjects the fish to all the basic problems of any kind of freezing.

 

If you really want to test this point, you need to undertake a significant experiment. What you do is, you go yank a very good-quality large sea bass from the sea. Fillet immediately, and freeze one fillet under good professional conditions. Slice the other and eat raw as sashimi. Remember, very carefully, exactly what its texture was like. Now defrost the frozen fillet and try that one. You'll see what I mean immediately: it will not have a bad texture, but it will not be the same texture. What you are encountering is a kind of degradation. This is one reason so many American sushi places idolize thin slices, and conversely why squid and octopus are rather unpopular: thick slices of truly fresh fish will have a much, much firmer texture than you would expect. Certain varieties of tuna do not have that texture, as a rule, and they also hold up beautifully to serious and excellent freezing, which is one of the many factors that makes it the most popular raw fish --- and the most grossly overfished. Salmon is its own problem: it's rare as sashimi in Japan, because of parasites and the like, and it has a very different sort of texture from most other fish.

 

Which is all to say, yes, re-freezing badly defrosted fish isn't a great idea. Good frozen fish is among the best you can get, often cheaper than supposedly fresh (but actually defrosted), and is easy to freeze: just don't defrost it and leave it in the freezer!

post #24 of 47

Chris  You are absolutely correct in your comments re frozen tuna. I does not freeze well.When defrosted it taste different. I have found in the denser fish tuna, sword etc that they do not freeze to well. I believe the freezing process even flash freeze expands the cells of the flesh of the fish and therefore its like it was sitting in water. If you squeeze a piece of fish before freezing less water will come out then it will after freezing. In any event I believe the future in the fishing industry will be all flash and nitro -freeze. both for health as well as economic purposes. An advantage to the freeze is that it kills most parasites after 72 hours. What worries me more is farm raised, where the fish are artificially colored and given feed and hormones to promote fast growth. I refuse to buy farm raised salmon anymore. I only spec large wild king salmon even though it comes frosted

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #25 of 47

After a discussion on these forums about worms in fish some time ago, i've gone exclusively with frozen fish since then.  I'm not excessively squeamish, but I don't want any living things to be jumping out of the food i'm about to eat as i cook it!

 

I always thought it made no sense to buy fresh fish (as my inlaws did from the fishermen directly at their place near the beach) and then freeze it at home, because of the limits of home freezing.  Better it be flash frozen on the ship as it;s caught, i thought.  Glad to hear this borne out by experts. 

 

My question is about refreezing once-frozen fish. 

I understood that nothing (NOTHING) should be refrozen after thawing, not for the taste and texture, which may also be affected, but for safety.  Bacteria grows more easily in defrosted food, because even flash freezing does break some cells down and bacteria enters and affects these.  So I had heard.

 

Nobody has mentioned this so far.  Ed, Chris, KLh and others, what about this?

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #26 of 47

Chris, if you're going to set up tests nobody can perform than at least make them equal.

 

Nobody ever said that freezing doesn't effect fish. But the question is about refreezing, not comparing to truly fresh fish.

 

If your experiment were to be truly meaningful it would have to compare:

 

1. A jerk it out of the water and eat it filet.

2. A filet that's been sitting on ice for four or five days.

3. A properly defrosted flash frozen filet.

4. A properly defrosted and refrozen and defrosted filet.

 

I would suggest to you that there will be differences between 1 & 2, as well as differences between 1 and all the others.

 

I would further sugggest that, despite the sushi and sashimi thing, most Cheftalk members have never had the opportunity to pull it from the ocean and take a bite, so have no idea what truly fresh means; and don't eat raw fish anyway. So all they have to compare are 2,3 & 4 in a cooked state.

 

Even tuna is cooked. Yeah, yeah, yeah, according to the experts tuna is seared on the outside and raw in the middle. But I'd bet good money that most people---even here at Cheftalk, which is a special group so far as food prep is concerned---cook tuna all the way through. They're just afraid to admit it for fear of derision.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #27 of 47

I understood that nothing (NOTHING) should be refrozen after thawing, not for the taste and texture, which may also be affected, but for safety...... 

 

In theory, Siduri, that's true. But it depends, really, on conditions.

 

In my mother's day, it was common to take something out of the freezer and stand it in the sink to defrost. Given those conditions, yeah, I'd be concerned about refreezing it without at least blanching the product.

 

But if you've taken it from the freezer and defrosted in the fridge, decided you didn't want it tonight and refroze it, it would not concern me in the least. You're environment there is below 40F, and bacterial growth is slow at best.

 

Of course, if it's been standing in the fridge for several days, refreezing is not going to magically make it less spoiled. But the spoilage mechanisim, in most cases, is more enzymatic than bacterial anyway. So there would be a quality difference, for sure, but not necessarily a safety issue.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #28 of 47

What worries me more is farm raised, where the fish are artificially colored and given feed and hormones to promote fast growth.

 

Aquafarming has a lot of issues, Ed. Many of the negatives have been, or are being, addressed in an industry that is in a great state of flux. The issues generally are similar to the organics vs conventional issues, with the question being whether you're concerned with merely producing as much product as possible, despite any effects on the growing medium, or are you concerned with producing as much product as possible consistent with preservation of the medium.

 

In short, how truly sustainable do you want your farm to be.

 

The biggest concern has to do with shallow-water farming, which is how most salmon is raised. There is an unfortunate build-up of waste products under such conditions. So antibiotics are fed the fish, to prevent sickness. Sort of a round-robin effect.

 

This is not an issue with deep-water farming. Unfortunately, that's a much more expensive set up, and the fish prices reflect it.

 

The artificially colored quesion is a non-issue, far as I'm concerned, being as the "dye" is the same compound found in krill, which is what gives salmon their red color in the first place.

 

Question: Would you turn up your nose at wild-caught salmon from the Great Lakes? They also lack the color of ocean raised fish.

 

That aside, I've got a crisp new hundred dollar bill that says you can't tell the difference between farm-raised salmon and wild caught in a blind taste test.

 

Most people who claim they can taste the difference actually are basing that on visual clues. We used to have a fishmonger member who tested that several times. What he found was that the average person couldn't tell the difference between wild and farmed salmon at all. And that foodies could tell the difference because of the color, not because of the taste.

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #29 of 47

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

........

If your experiment were to be truly meaningful it would have to compare:

 

1. A jerk it out of the water and eat it filet.

2. A filet that's been sitting on ice for four or five days.

3. A properly defrosted flash frozen filet.

4. A properly defrosted and refrozen and defrosted filet.

 

I would suggest to you that there will be differences between 1 & 2, as well as differences between 1 and all the others.

 

I would further sugggest that, despite the sushi and sashimi thing, most Cheftalk members have never had the opportunity to pull it from the ocean and take a bite, so have no idea what truly fresh means; and don't eat raw fish anyway. So all they have to compare are 2,3 & 4 in a cooked state.

 

Even tuna is cooked. Yeah, yeah, yeah, according to the experts tuna is seared on the outside and raw in the middle. But I'd bet good money that most people---even here at Cheftalk, which is a special group so far as food prep is concerned---cook tuna all the way through. They're just afraid to admit it for fear of derision.


Well, you shouldn't really be eating much tuna anyway, for sustainability reasons. But that's another issue.

 

In your proposed comparison, 1 & 2 will differ a great deal less than you'd probably think. 3 & 4 will differ from 1 & 2 considerably. If you're going to cook it through using decent technique, these differences will all but vanish. The problem is fish that has not been properly handled, which includes most supermarket fish, in my experience.

 

I'm not going to make claims about molecular structures and the like, since I don't know what I'm talking about in any technical sense, but it seems to me that once fish has been frozen, however well, it becomes somewhat sponge-like upon defrosting, however properly it's done. That's not much noticeable by itself unless you eat it raw, in which case you'll immediately notice that almost all defrosted fish has much the same texture. But once you've defrosted fish, you have to be very careful how you handle it, because that sponginess can absorb water, lending itself to all sorts of problems in cooking and even worse in re-freezing.

 

You may be right about people not eating raw fish here, but that surprises me a bit. Sushi has become so mainstream that I've seen it in WalMart!

 

All I was really getting at about defrosted fish eaten raw, however, was this question of texture. If you eat good sushi or sashimi in Japan, the first thing you notice -- okay, the first thing I noticed -- was that every fish has its own texture. When you eat sushi in America, even in quite good places (although I'm told the West Coast is different here), all the fish has pretty much the same texture, and the differences lie almost exclusively in taste. That's what I meant about octopus and squid: those have remarkably different textures from all the fish. In Japan, by contrast, the fish vary so widely in texture that squid and octopus seem well within the normal range. The firmest fish -- shading into truly hard -- that I know of is the infamous fugu, the poisonous blowfish, which is why it's sliced paper-thin: otherwise it's unpleasantly chewy-crunchy. Abalone has a similar texture, and is again sliced very thin. After eating a great deal of good raw fish in Japan, I was disappointed by what I found back in the Boston area, and have learned that much of the problem is simply that the fish is generally defrosted, so that it all has much the same texture as tuna.

 

Anyway, the OP must be sick of this by now!

post #30 of 47

I currently fish/cook on an Alaskan salmon ship.  For me its the ultimate summer job that can pay very well but also gives me unlimitied of the freshest possible fish to play with.  I have heard horror stories of people not knowing better who have eaten the raw stuff without first freezing it and gotten sick from bacteria or parasites but this seems to matter where the fish came from.  Some bays the Salmon are supposedly ok to eat raw and unfrozen.  I've never verified this myself as I'm too afraid of getting the whole crew sick but there are enough non-salmon caught in the net to make all the sushi I desire without having to eat raw salmon.  There is a cryovac on the boat however and I can vouch that when vacuum sealed, salmon frozen in a regular freezer can be of better quality from a salmon taken from the fish hold.

 

When fishermen find fish they don't rest until the nets are empty.  This can mean working anytime there is sunlight which in Alaska can be 20 hours straight.  When the fishing is that good a second boat will come and vacuum the fish right out of the nets and take them straight to the fishery but when the fishing is not that great the fish are in the fish hold and all of them are dead from being packed on top of each other.  Some boats have a chiller to keep the fish cold but many boats just pack ice on the sides of the fish hold.  We make the same $ per pound of hour old fish as we do for 20 hour old fish.  Even on the boat you can't always get the best of the best.  Know that this is an extremely low percentage of the catch though.  The more fish that are caught the more often then have to be hauled in.  The fish hold carries 35,000 lbs which fills up pretty quick.  Bigger fish like Halibut caught on long liners are processed right on the boat and are exceptional quality at the time they are given to restaurants or markets.

 

On a side note anyone who thinks they don't like octopus MUST find a way to get a fresh one even if it means paying for a charter fishing trip.  Octopus sashimi is to die for.

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