Frozen fish is a cook’s best option for quality, convenient and sustainably-sourced seafood. Frozen on board is the ideal situation, because the freshness is locked in until you’re ready to eat the fish.
Some points to take note to choose the quality frozen fishes:• Where does it come from? • In what manner was it frozen? • How to prepare it before turning it into your favourite recipes?
Here are some tips for buying and cooking with frozen fish:1. Look at the eco label Eco labels like Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are recognitions for responsible sourcing and assurance of seafood sustainability. This will be the starting point in your seafood selection process.
2. Identify the freeze methodIt’s important to know the difference between products labelled Frozen at Sea (FAS) and Individually Quick-Frozen (IQF). FAS products may be caught, filleted, and frozen aboard the same boat. The IQF label is given to pieces of finfish or shellfish that have been fast-frozen as single units, glazed with a skim coat of water that freezes instantly to preserve the freshness of the fish, bagged, and then boxed. However, it’s best if the frozen product is processed using both methods, as the freshness is totally locked along the processing line.
3. Packing MethodVacuum sealing is a sure sign of good frozen fish. It would be unwise to choose a frozen fish product that has simply been placed on a Styrofoam tray, covered with plastic wrap and then tossed in the freezer. This is not a good packaging method for frozen fish.
4. Thaw your fish properlyThawing frozen fish can poses a risk for listeria monocytogenes, which pregnant women, new-borns and elderly might easily get infected with. Therefore, never thaw your frozen fish on the counter at room temperature. The best way to thaw fish is gradually by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. Remember, make sure your thawing fish far away from any fresh produce items, in order to avoid cross-contamination. To thaw a piece of fish quickly, place it in a zip-lock bag and immerse in cold water. The fattier fishes (salmon, swordfish, mahi mahi or trout) should always be thawed before proceeding with your favourite recipes.
5. Or cook it right from the freezer!If you plan on cooking the fish immediately, you can use microwave’s defrost setting to thaw it.
It’s important how the fish was handled from the freezing point to your plate. With the proper freezing, storing and thawing method, frozen is the new fresh!