In Search of Fresh Fish

30 Apr

Lately, I have had a strong craving for fresh fish. You know the type of craving I mean; the type of deep, down need for a particular taste or smell that not even a facsimile thereof can satisfy. In other words, canned tuna and salmon ain’t cutting it any more. I wanted something grilled or pan-seared that came from something that looked like it lived in water at some point. My problem is simple: I am so picky when it comes to fish that I just stopped buying it.

So, why did I stop buying fish?  Everywhere I went to go buy salmon, tuna, trout or flounder I would see these words: Previously Frozen.

Sigh.

My experience has shown me that some fish fare better frozen than others. Domestic IQF catfish is an example of how well fish can be frozen if handled and stored responsibly. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen fresh shrimp in the seafood case. Even tuna does well if frozen on the boat.  I have an issue with thawing fish to sell as fresh with the words “previously frozen” in small lettering on the advertisement.  Why is the availability of fresh fish so scarce these days?

So, my quest for fresh fish drove me to Whole Foods. Admittedly; it was my first time in the uber-organic haven, so I was a bit mystified and exited to see so many organic offerings in one setting.  Side note: There was two kids begging their mom for rice cakes. Yeah, times have changed.  It was a huge culture shock for me, but I digress.

I arrived at the fresh fish counter and it was like I had died and gone to heaven. I knew I was going to void my wallet of anything resembling money.  I bought trout fillets, two pieces of bright red tuna loin steaks, a pound of certified Atlantic Salmon and turbot. I was just giddy with excitement at all of the possibilities. I was going to have a fish orgy. Mmmmm!

When I arrived home and unpacked my goodies, I became aware that the certified Atlantic salmon and the turbot was previously frozen. There it was, as plain as day on the label. I was bamboozled and hornswoggled! I fell for the okey-doke. I was so enamored with the sights and smells of  a gourmand’s paradise that I completely forgot to scrutinize the labels before I bought my fish. I scolded myself and cooked a piece of the salmon. It was really good, and not rubbery like all of the frozen salmon I’d bought countless times before my self-imposed fish embargo.  When I tried the turbot however, I was disappointed because it was mushy after I cooked it. The turbot proved to be the perfect example of how fish can be corrupted by freezing: typically, the flesh of turbot is way too delicate to be frozen. The tuna and the trout were both great and I learned a lesson:

Trust, but verify.

Thanks to antiagingtreatments.blogspot.com for the grilled fish photo

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