October 31, 2017

Fresher frozen? Seafood concepts to keep in mind

Seafood is used in a wide variety of cuisine all over the world. In fact, it's the most traded food commodity globally, and 3 billion people rely on seafood as their primary source of protein, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Because seafood is so valuable, anyone looking to receive their online culinary arts certificate should understand how to handle and cook it appropriately. Let's take a look at some of the best seafood concepts to keep in mind:

1. Keep it frosty

Whether you go to the store or catch the seafood yourself, it's important to keep it in the proper conditions. If you reel in your own haul, bury it in ice immediately to keep it cold. But what about the fish you see in displays and frozen aisles of supermarkets? Bon Appetit noted freezing the catch helps to preserve the fresh flavor, ensuring they're same-day fresh when they're thawed out. In fact, unless you're sure that the fresh fish actually just came from the boat, frozen shrimp are a better bet for their taste and cookability. In many cases, fish in the displays may have been treated with chemicals and in transit for a number of days. By going with frozen shrimp, you have a better opportunity to create delicious dishes like shrimp skewers, shrimp fried rice, shrimp alfredo and shrimp curry without worrying about how fresh it will be.

Freezing seafood can help it stay fresher longer. Freezing seafood can help it stay fresher longer. 

2. Monitor freezing dates

Shrimp isn't the only type of fish that can be frozen; there are some shops that aim to provide super-frozen fish that can last up to 18 months and still be fresh when thawed out. For those buying or catching their own fish, however, the timelines are a little tighter and it's integral to get the seafood into the right conditions as quickly as possible. The Spruce noted that any air that touches the fish will destroy it, so vacuum-sealing, glazing or wrapping will be necessary to ensure it doesn't go bad.

If you don't want to pay for a sealer, glazing the fish will be the best option. Dip the fish in cold water, then put on a sheet pan in the freezer. After allowing the water to freeze, repeat the process to get a 1/4-inch thick ice glaze on the fish and put into a plastic bag for storage. Don't freeze fish longer than six months. Some fish like salmon and trout decline in quality even quicker and shouldn't be kept longer than three months.

"Each type of seafood comes with its own cooking complexities."

3. Prepare it properly

Each type of seafood comes with its own cooking complexities, and culinary students must be able to prepare it appropriately for a satisfying dining experience. Seafood Health Facts noted that seafood must be handled in a clean area to avoid cross-contamination and that raw seafood should never come into contact with ready-to-eat or cooked foods. With frozen seafood, bring an inch of water to boil over medium-high heat and place the seafood in the pan, skin side down. Turn down the heat to low and cover the pan tightly to cook for 5 minutes, according to All Recipes. After this time, turn off the heat and let the fish rest for 5 minutes, then serve. Finish off your plate with a sauce or squeeze of citrus to add a pop of flavor.

Of course, other seafood items will require other cooking methods. Scallops and shrimp will turn opaque and become firm when cooked through. Shellfish will open up and become plump when they're ready. Understanding the proper way to prepare and cook various seafood types will help avoid foodborne illnesses and enable people to enjoy the meal.