Getting Personal with the Seafood Department
How often have you purchased seafood at a grocery story to only discover once at home, that it smells funny or is slimy? Hopefully that has never happened or doesn’t happen too often, but regardless, that seafood should have never made it into your basket.
When shopping for seafood, first and foremost, always shop at a store that you know holds high standards to quality of their product. Secondly, if the fish department smells, doesn’t look clean, the ice under the fish is melting, or the seafood is “floating” on icy water, walk away and quickly at that! Right away this tells you everything you need to know. And lastly, if they don’t know when the seafood came in or how often they rotate it out, its best taking your chances somewhere else. A quality location will use tracking to maintain their standard to quality and freshness.
With all that being said, there are simple steps you can take once you determine that you are at a reputable seafood store.
1. Never feel embarrassed to ask questions:
a. Can you tell me about the salmon? Is it fresh, farm raised, previously frozen, where is it from, how often do you rotate fresh seafood, how long will this last me before I cook it?
b. Can I smell it? Always ask to smell seafood! Those that won’t let you smell it might be doing so because of the smell. Keep in mind though that seafood will smell but should smell like seawater and not sour. Fish should be shiny and eyes bright. Trust me, you will know the smell when it’s “off.” Usually the fresher the seafood the less “stinky” it will be.
c. Can I have center cut? They might not give you the center cut unless you ask. If this is what you want, ask for it!
d. Can I have that piece back there in the corner? You are paying for it so get what you want! If they give you a piece that doesn’t look good to you, ask for another. You have every right to get what you want.
2. If you get home and your seafood has a funky smell or has a slimy texture, play it safe and don’t eat it! I always follow the motto “when in doubt, throw it out!” Most grocery stores will refund your money if you call them immediately after purchase or bring it back in.
3. Word of mouth: Ask your friends, colleagues, neighbors, or even complete strangers where they go. Chances are they will refer you to a place they have had great luck with.
4. Do your homework! Choose seafood that’s sustainably raised, fresh, in-season, and that looks good. Too often we go to the store with a specific list in hand. Instead, write “fish” and purchase whatever fish looks freshest.
5. Never underestimate the knowledge your seafood department can provide. Asking them questions about seasoning and cooking suggestions is a great way to try something different. Plus, many of them went through extensive training to learn their product and take great pride in what they do!
All that being said, knowledge is power and therefore, you hold all the power!
Cheers to starting a new tradition at home around the table together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!