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Shellfish & Fish in the Daily Diet
Written by Diet Bites
Fish should be an important part of your meal planning; serve at least twice per week.
The Good News About Shellfish
Some of the most popular shellfish are crab, lobster, oysters, crayfish, mussels, clams, shrimp, abalone, scallops and whelks. Most are moderate in calories and packed with a strongbox of necessary nutrients that are heart-healthy. See Shellfish Calories
The Sad News About Shellfish
One would assume with all the ocean water that our shellfish supply would be unlimited.
Unfortunately, shellfish survive in the more shallow waters - as most fish do. It's one of the reasons that shellfish, as well as fish, tend to be pricey at the market - especially when compared with farm-raised catfish, per say.
Due to toxic dumping by businesses, as well as oil spills - polluted waters infect our shellfish supply, thereby further increasing market value for healthy specimens.
Tips for Purchasing the Freshest Fish
Let's switch gears and include fish specimens in this article - and tips for getting the freshest fish possible at the market.
Your nose is the best tool to finding the freshest fish and shellfish at the market. If the fish is fresh it will have a mild odor. Next you will use your eyes. How does the fish look? Are the eyes clear, bright and often-times bulging? This is indicative of a fresh fish.
Also check the gills of the fish. Make sure they’re pink or bright red in color; they should not be slippery or slimy.
In addition, the intestinal cavity of the fish should be clean and pinkish in color. The specimen’s skin should also be shiny and the flesh should spring back when pressed lightly. There should be a firm texture to the flesh rather than mushy.
If the specimens have ragged edges or if they exhibit discoloration, this is a sign of poor quality as well as old fish.
Now that we know what to look for when it comes to finding the freshest fish available let’s discuss the types of fish that are often used in recipes. First, we’ll start with a few definitions related to the state of the fish.
When the terms ‘whole’ or ‘round’ are used this refers to the fish as it comes from the water. If the specimen is described as ‘drawn’ this means that it is a whole fish and that the internal organs have been removed but the scales have been left on.
But if the specimen is described as a ‘dressed’ or a ‘pan-dressed’ fish, then it has the internal organs as well as the scales removed. It the term ‘fillet’ is used to describe the type of fish, this means it is a boneless selection that has been cut lengthwise away from the fish; it may or may not be skinned.
If the term ‘steak’ is used, this is a thick slice of fish cut from a dressed fish.
Now let’s discuss the types of fish commonly sold at the fishmongers or in seafood deli markets, their flavors and textures.
The catfish is sold as dressed, in steak form as well as in fillet form. Catfish should have a firm texture and a mild flavor.
Codfish should have a firm texture and a delicate flavor. Cod is often sold as fillets and steaks.
The flounder has a firm texture and a delicate flavor and is often sold dressed and also in fillet form. And paddock is a delicate fish with firm texture, as is halibut. Both are sold dressed, and as fillets.
Lake trout tends to have a mild flavor and the texture of the flesh is very firm.
Ocean perch is firm in texture and has a delicate flavor and is often sold as fillets.
Orange roughy is a very popular fish and is often sold in fillet form. The flavor is very mild and delicate and the texture is firm.
Whitefish has a firm texture and a delicate flavor as do rainbow trout. Rainbow trout are typically drawn and partially boned. They may arrive at the table in filleted form.
Pike, redfish, and red snapper are all firm in texture and very mild in flavor. They are sold at the market in fillet form as well as dressed.
Tuna should be firm in texture and the flavor is mild to rich. If the tuna is purchased in a can, the manner in which it is packed will influence the flavor of the fish. If it is packed in oil, it will have a very rich taste. If it is packed in water, the flavor will be quite mild. There is not much difference in the flavor of tuna that has been packed in water and the tuna that is packed in spring water.
Like tuna, salmon is a very popular fish among dieters and is generally purchased in a container just as tuna. It should have a firm texture and the flavor ranges from mild to rich. If purchased in its raw state over the counter, it is generally sold as steaks.
The swordfish is sold as steaks and the texture is very dense; it should be firm to touch. The flavor hinges on mild.