Choosing and Buying Fresh Fish
Fresh fish, sometimes known as ‘wet fish’, is usually purchased from a fishmonger or a fresh fish counter at supermarkets. Many supermarkets also sell pre-packed, portion controlled fresh fish which is kept at temperature of 0 – 4C and remain fresh for three days. Ideally fish should be eaten as soon as possible after it has been caught. This is often difficult in inland areas. Fish should always be chosen from a chilled or iced display counter.
All fish, especially oily and shell fish deteriorate very quickly. Look for the following characteristics to ensure the fish you buy is fresh:
Fish can be cooked in many different ways using either dry or moist methods of cooking. When fish is cooked the changes which take place are similar to those which occur during the cooking of meat.
As there is less connective tissue in fish than in meat and no make it as palatable and digestible as possible. Fish should be cooked as little and as gently as possible as the fish proteins coagulate quickly and easily. If fish is over-cooked the flesh becomes rubbery and dry.
There are less extractives than in meat so fish should therefore be cooked in such a way that as much flavor as possible is preserved. During cooking proteins coagulate, collagen converts to gelatin and some shrinkage occurs. Shrinkage however is less than with meat. Shrinkage moist heat methods of cooking water, extractives and soluble mineral salts and vitamins are lost, therefore fish cooked by boiling or stewing can be rather tasteless.