Frozen Fish

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mudbug, Jun 25, 2001.

  1. mudbug

    mudbug

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    What's the best way to prepare it?

    I know, I know, fresh, fresh, fresh! Sometimes that's not always possible so I need answers to this specific question.

    And does it REALLY matter what kind? (I'm sure it does.) Any suggestions?
     
  2. coolj

    coolj

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    I find poaching or steaming to be the best methods for preparing frozen fish.
     
  3. ziggy

    ziggy

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    Living in Phoenix I am often hardpressed to find good fresh fish besides salmon. This was the hardest part about moving here from Seattle - where i was quite spoiled.

    I buy alot of IQF fish. I find the halibut, tuna, and sea bass do well on the grill. Snappers I tend to do stovetop - usually braising in citrus and wine. I've also used calamari - steaks sauteed or rings thrown in sauces or also sauteed.
     
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I've seen respectable frozen fish product at the Japanese Grocery store. Of course, having lived in the midwest for such a long time it's hard to tell the difference between fresh and frozen. ;) I've tried a product called sako block. This is the frozen loin of tuna. It's literally a long block of frozen tuna about 6" in length and 1.5" wide. Total weight is usually about 12 oz. The label says lightly treated with neutral smoke or something. It's decently priced as well, about $7 a pound if I recall correctly.

    Kuan

    [ June 28, 2001: Message edited by: kuan ]
     
  5. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Thank you to everyone who responded with ideas and suggestions.

    Ziggy, do you thaw before grilling? How do you prepare for the grill? Do you use foil or is it direct? Do you flip?
     
  6. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Though fresh fish is the way to go whenever possible, it is not always possible or feasible. Frozen fish can be treated just like the fresh stuff in almost all cases. The major exception is fish that is going to be served raw or very rare (freezing can make the flesh kind of mushy and this is very noticible when raw). What is more important is the care with which the frozen fish was handled. It cannot be allowed to freeze, thaw, refreeze, and thaw again. It just magnifies the damage that freezing can do. Try and buy from a reputable store with good handling practices. Secondly, it is very important how you thaw the fish. Sitting out on a counter all day to thaw is the worst. It will spoil almost as quickly as it thaws. Unwrapped under running water is also not a great way. The fish won't spoil, but it becomes waterlogged and the water can tear up the flakes. Better still, is wrapped, under running water, but this can still damage the flesh, and if you are not careful water can still come in contact with it making it waterlogged. The best way to thaw it is to place it, wrapped, in the fridge, in a perforated pan, with a drip pan underneath to catch the moisture as the fish thaws. Pull it out of the freezer the night before, and it will be ready the next day for dinner. Follow these guidelines and your frozen fish will turn out great.
     
  7. nick.shu

    nick.shu

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    i find that flouring fish that has been thawed out one of the easier ways to prep that fish for pan frying. On a grill it not really that big a deal if you keep the handling to a minimum (not that i like frozen fish over fresh).

    Also freezer burn will always tell you how well the product has been kept frozen.

    Cabal, if your talking about the finished product (i.e. fish cooked and presented ) fair enough. But if you tried to give me a thawed out frozen fish fillet before it was cooked, i would almost be able to tell the difference straight away.
     
  8. isa

    isa

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    Nick,


    REading your last post, a question popped (is that a word?) into my mind. How do you freeze fish well?


    Thanks!
     
  9. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Iza,

    If you need to freeze fresh fish, do it as soon as possible. Use a zip lock freezer bag, an old paper milk container, or use a baking pan or other similar container big enough to fit the entire fish, put the fish in and fill it with water. Make sure all parts of the fish are covered and freeze. The water acts as a shield against freezer burn and definitely makes a HUGE difference.

    You definitely want to freeze as soon as possible though.

    Here's a good "how to" on freezing fish in water:

    [ July 10, 2001: Message edited by: cchiu ]
     
  10. isa

    isa

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    Cchiu,

    Wow thanks for the lesson in freezing. Wouldn't have thought of it but it does make sense.
     
  11. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    Wow. Would never have thought to freeze the fish in a block of water. I ususally don't freeze fish...i cook it the day i buy it, but this helps lots. My grandma would take the fresh fish she wasnt gonna use, season it, put it into a ziploc freezer bag and then wrap it in foil. Im so glad I found a better way of doing this. (thats why I didnt like to freeze fish). Your way sounds much better.

    Thanks

    Jodi
     
  12. pongi

    pongi

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    One more advice...Fish Carpaccio.
    Although it's not recommendable to eat raw any defrosted fish, slicing fish thinly enough to get a good Carpaccio it's impossible unless it's not frozen. The best types are salmon and swordfish. Apart from the "basic" seasoning with citronnette or balsamic vinaigrette and the scandinavian recipes made with mustard and/or honey, sour cream and dill, a "mediterranean" version calling for chopped fresh tomatoes, EVOO, finely sliced young onions and aromatic herbs like thyme and basil, is very yummy with swordfish Carpaccio.

    Pongi
     
  13. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    We've had great luck with catfish fillets which can be dirt cheap sometimes. We coat them lightly in olive oil, toss them around in seasoned corn meal, then bake. Catfish is one of those things that greatly benefits from frying...trouble is, I don't benefit from it :(.

    Although it's wonderful fresh, salmon is a good "freezer." DH says halibut is also one. Any non-flaky fish is pretty risk free. Don't ever try to freeze something like lobster. It turns to mush if not done correctly.
     
  14. marmalady

    marmalady

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    I freeze shrimp in a light salt water brine; seems to keep them a little fresher and more 'plumped' when thawed. Learned it from an old 'shrimpwife' in Charleston, SC. I wonder if the same would do for freezing fish? Never even thought to try it til I read this thread!
     
  15. robertito

    robertito

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    Many years ago I read an article in Atlantic magazine about how to correctly use the freezer for all types of food. I have been using the following method for freezing/thawing fish since then, and nobody can ever tell that the fish was not fresh. I sometimes keep fish frozen this way for up to three months.

    Using cleaned, dried fresh fillets (skin removed) or steaks, take a heavy duty freezer ziploc bag, open it up, toss in no more than a heavy tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place the fillets inside, making sure to coat the fish with the oil as well as possible (this protects against oxygen, the source of freezer burn). Push the fillets to the bottom of the bag, filling up the corners and bottom as well as possible, and then roll the bag up, removing as much air as possible, and then sealing the bag, while squeezing out the air.

    You can thaw overnight in the fridge (not the bottom shelf...too cold there). But my preferred method is to put the package in a bowl of cold water in the sink, with the zipper out of the water, and the rest of the package weighted down to be totally submerged. After about 1.5 hours, you have perfect fish.

    I've tried adding seasoning to the packages, but it overwhelms the flavor.

    This method has been successfully used with tuna, swordfish, wild and farm-raised salmon, mahi-mahi, tilapia, sea bass, halibut, flounder and others.

    It also works just fine with thick strip steaks and ribeyes!
     
  16. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    People are under the misconceptoin that fish sold unfrozen equate to fresh. Unless you live within 20 minutes of the body of water where they were caught, assume all fish are thawed. Think about it - do you think the salmon you bought as unfrozen is really fresh? Where was it caught?

    Truth be told, fish sold as frozen are probably the freshest fish you can buy. They are prepared (gutted/filleted/de-shelled) at the very peak of freshness (sometimes, still on the boat) and flash frozen possibly as soon as 20 minutes after being caught.
     
  17. marmalady

    marmalady

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    You're absolutely right, chif - and I think most supermarkets now are labelling their fish 'fresh' or 'previously frozen'. Shrimp, especially, are never sold 'fresh' unless you're right there at the source!