Finding fresh fish can be tricky, especially if you don’t live by the sea. So I’ve put together a few tips that can help you out.
1. The first thing to do is to find a fishmonger, or at least a supermarket that has a fresh fish counter and that sells sustainably caught seafood. It is so important to shop at a place that cares enough to ensure their produce is eco-friendly. It is also so important to make your fishmonger your friend as you will have a much better chance of being given the freshest fish of the day. Don’t be shy to question them and let them know if they sold you a product you were disappointed with so it won’t happen again.
2. The easiest way to see if a fish is fresh is to look at it’s eyes. Fresher fish will have clear, glossy eyes whereas a fish that is a few days old will have foggy/cloudy eyes.
3. A second sign of a fresh fish is the consistency of the skin. Fresh fish will be slimy whereas an older fish will be drier. Beware because many fishmongers spray the fish with water to make it look slimy so if possible try and touch the fish to make sure it’s actually slimy.
4. The third sign to look out for is the color of the gills. Fresher fish will have bright red gills, so don’t be afraid to touch the fish and have a look for yourself. If the fish is less fresh the colour of the gills will become more a of a dull brick colour.
We always recommend that you never buy fish that has been pre-filleted, simply because it becomes very hard to tell how fresh it is. Buy a whole fish and then ask your fishmonger to clean it and cut it into fillets if you wish. Personally our favourite way to cook fish is to bake it whole in the oven. Like cooking a piece of meat on the bone, the fish will always be so much more tender and juicy if you cook it whole.
Check out this recipe for a whole baked fish with Asparagus:
Oven-baked Red Snapper with Asparagus, White Wine and Lemon
Ingredients (Portion for 4Pax)
- 1kg whole Sea Bass
- Fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, thyme and sage on the stem
- 16 Asparagus, cleaned
- 1 Lemon
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 65 ml White wine
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Clean the whole sea bass, making sure to remove the innards and gills (get your fishmonger to do this for you)
- Season the inside of the fish with salt and pepper, and add sprigs of fresh herbs (squeeze and twist the herbs so they release their essential oils and fragrances). Also squeeze some lemon juice.
- Place the fish in an ovenproof dish with the Asparagus around the fish
- Add salt, pepper, olive oil and a big splash of white wine.
- Place in oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
- Use a spoon and a fork to check that the fish slides off the bone easily and that is how you will know that the fish is cooked. Bone the fish and serve with the asparagus and some fresh parsley.