ON FRESH FISH
TIPS BY TALLYRAND
term fresh fish will mean different things to different people
and different cultures.
many people fresh simply means not frozen.
others it means at its peak.
the Japanese it means less than a day old, as in less than
24 hours after it was caught. This is often referred to
as being sashimi quality. However for it to be truly of
sashimi quality it must have been caught, killed, gutted
and stored in a certain way before sale.
a professional chef it will usually (and hopefully) mean
being served within three days of being caught.
There are so many factors that determine fresh when it comes
should always be gutted and gilled as soon as it is caught,
so any bacteria held in these areas cannot permeate into
the flesh as it breaks down (it also ensures a better
flavour and aroma).
fish may be only two days old but if it is has not been
stored correctly it might as well be two weeks old! Experts
agree that for every hour a freshly caught fish is not stored
on ice, it loses one day of shelf life. So a fish not chilled
for four hours is equivalent in quality to a five day old
fish that has been kept on ice.
a fish is stored correctly (kept on ice) from the
time it is caught, it has a useable life of up to ten days.
However this is rarely the case and one should use the fish
of course as soon as possible. Besides the fact that it
tastes so much better, you must also remember the health
benefits and staying safe from food poisoning.
to tell how fresh fish is? With filleted fish it can be
very difficult, one must rely on your sense of smell and
lightly pressed the flesh of fresh fish should be quite
resilient and bounce back, the older it gets the more
likely it is that the indent will remain or slowly bounce
should of course smell fresh, the more it smells like
fish the older it is. The fresher it is the less unpleasant
aroma there will be.
above presumes you are allowed to smell and touch prior
to purchase otherwise you must rely on the supplier
and maybe the use by date if packaged.
pleasant aroma (someone once wrote that, fish should
smell of the sea, be briny in aroma . . . by the time
it smells of fish it is too late).
that is resilient
scales that are not dried up
body being covered in sea slime
gills should be bright and / or red and free from any
yeasty aroma and slime (slime in the gills is usually
a bacterial slime - not good)
older the fish, the lower the quality, the less the above
will apply. For example all other signs might be present but:
eyes might be slightly sunken - indicating the fish is fresh
but not the freshest.
sea slime on the body can indicate that its is very fresh
but it may be that it has just been handled with a cloth
and wiped off.
it all comes down to is using your own judgement, relying
on your senses (including common sense) and what are
you buying the fish for.
its for sashimi (see below) it must be almost alive!
it is for poaching it must be fresh, fresh.
it is for frying, bbq, etc then as long as the fish smells
all right it probably is and will taste fine.
I mentioned above about sashimi quality. Sashimi quality fish
means it is so fresh it is suitable for serving raw. Sashimi
basically being a Japanese dish of paper thin slices of raw
fish or other seafoods, ornately presented and served with
Sushi on the other hand is entirely different. Sushi is essentially
a dish of cold cooked rice. The most common variety most people
know is Maki zushi or Californian roll - cooked rice, rolled
into a tube shape, wrapped in nori (a toasted, processed,
flat sheet of seaweed) that will include many other ingredients
such as meats, seafoods, vegetables, etc that may be cooked,
raw or a combination of both, served with a dipping sauce.
There is also Nigiri sushi which is known as a la carte
sushi or sometimes hand made sushi which is rice
made into a small rugby ball shape and foods dressed over
I cannot stress enough though that even fish straight out
of the sea does NOT guarantee against food poisoning! If the
fish contains certain pathogens (food poisoning bacteria)
or if it has been feeding near sewerage outlets (and many
fish do) then even cooking them is still likely to give
you a bit of a stomach upset. All you can do, like anything
in life, is to stay as safe as possible.
and Cooking Tips
and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training
as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was
here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and
the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete
his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.
gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous,
as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef
and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help
prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other
dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful
Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many
celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years
. . .
you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's
own web site www.tallyrand.info (link in main menu)
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