Scared when you’re out buying seafood? Good news—fresh fish and shellfish don’t have an odor. In fact, seafood only starts to smell “fishy” when it’s starting to spoil. Still, just to be safe, here are some ways you can tell your fish is fresh:
- Eyes: clear and bulge a little
- Flesh: firm, shiny. Gills are free from slime
- Texture: flesh springs back when pressed
- Smell: Fresh and mild. Not “fishy” or like ammonia
- Color: No darkening around edges, and no brown or yellowish discoloration
When buying fresh Atlantic Salmon, look for:
- Orange-red color
- Slight sheen
- Smooth, clean cut
- Firm and moist meat
- If packaged, only buy Atlantic salmon in a sealed container with no liquid
Raw doesn’t always mean fresh.
About 90% of the shrimp sold in North America comes from overseas, which means there’s a very good chance it was previously frozen. Unless you live near a coastal area, or can verify that your shrimp has been locally sourced, it’s best to ask at the seafood counter the origin of the shrimp in the seafood case.
Avoid the defrosted shrimp in your seafood aisle.
When it comes to fresh shrimp, every minute counts. The quality and taste of shrimp begins to decline soon after defrosting, so if you can’t ensure that they have only recently been thawed, it’s best to stick to frozen shrimp. But if you do choose to buy previously frozen shrimp, make sure they are unblemished, firm and smell like the ocean.
Choose Individually Quick-Frozen (IQF)
In the case of shrimp, frozen is fresher. IQF shrimp are frozen immediately after capture to lock in ocean-fresh flavor and freshness.
Stick with 100% shrimp
Make sure the only ingredient is shrimp by checking the package. Some producers add salt or other preservatives that tend to give shrimp an unappetizing taste and texture.
Going wild is worth it.
If possible, choose wild shrimp—they tend to have a firmer texture and sweeter taste.
Buying Fresh Oysters and Scallops
If you have a taste for fresh oysters and scallops, we have a few purchasing tips that just might help:
- Buy the freshest you can possibly find.
- Avoid any that are open, because there is a chance that it has died.
- If it is slightly open, tap the shell. If it snaps shut, it’s alive. If it stays open, discard it.
Common Cuts of Fish
Steaks: Cut widthwise across the fish, typically 1-1½” in thickness
Fillets: Cut lengthwise from the backbone, in long pieces
Portions: Cuts of fillet portioned into smaller serving sizes
Rolled Fillets: Smaller fillets that have been rolled up, and perfect for steaming, poaching or baking
Whole Fish: Whole fish that have been gutted, with head and tail left on
How Much to Buy Per Person
Here are some suggested portion sizes:
- Fish: 6-8 oz per person
- Shrimp: ¼ -1 lb per person
- King Crab: 1 leg per person, ½ leg for starters
- Scallops: 6 oz per person