Storage of fresh fish - Because fish, like many other food products, will spoil easily if not handled with care, certain procedures must be followed.
1. Wash the fish under cold running water and dry with absorbent paper toweling.
2. Wrap the fish in a moisture-proof, vapor-proof paper; or place in an airtight, rigid container.
3. Store in the refrigerator at 35 degrees to 40 degrees, until removed for cooking.
By following these procedures, the fish will retain a maximal moisture level and the odor of the fish will not be transferred to other refrigerator foods.
Storage of frozen fish - Commercially packaged, frozen fish should remain in the unopened package and stored in a freezer which maintains 0 degrees. When fish is to frozen, it should be wrapped in freezer paper, or sealed in freezer containers. Do not freeze fish which has been wrapped only in wax paper, parchment paper, or polyethylene materials. When fish taws, it should be cooked immediately; never refreeze fish.
Thawing of frozen fish - Frozen fish should be thawed in the refrigerator at 35 to 40 degrees. The fish should be held at this temperature only long enough to permit ease of preparation. It takes about 24 hours to thaw a 1 Lb. package in this manner. If a quicker method is necessary, the fish (still wrapped in the moisture-proof, vapor-proof paper) may be held under cold running water. Allow one to two hours for thawing a 1 Lb. package in this way.
FAT & LEAN FISH COOKING SUGGESTIONS:
For best results in preparing a fresh fish, it is desirable to know whether it is fat or lean. Both can be cooked by a basic method but lean fish requires more added fat during cooking to keep them moist and flavorful.
Fatty fish are those containing more than 5% fat. Examples are catfish, mackerel, and pompano.
Lean fish contain less than 5% fat. Examples are red snapper, flounder, and sea trout.
FISH CUTS AND THEIR SPECIAL USES:
Whole or round fish are those marketed just as they come from the water. Before cooking, they must be eviscerated and scaled; usually the heat, tail, and fins are also removed.
Drawn fish are marketed with only the entrails removed. Before cooking, the head, scales, and fins are usually removed.
Dressed or pan-dressed fish are eviscerated and scaled; usually with the head, tail, and fins removed. This form is ready for cooking as purchased.
Steaks are cross-section cuts from larger dressed fish. They are ready to cook as purchased.
Fillets are the sides of the fish, cut lengthwise away from the backbone. They are ready to cook as purchased.
Canned fish include many varieties of both fish and shellfish. They are ready to use as purchased.
Shellfish. Some are marketed alive. Others market form, depending on the variety, include the following:
1. In Shell - Hard and soft blue crabs, lobsters, clams and oysters should be alive if bought fresh in the shell. Edible portion varies widely. Crabs and lobsters also may be cooked in the shell before marketing.
2. Shucked - clam, oyster and scallop meats after the shell is removed. This form is 100% edible.
3. Headless - Usually only the tail part of shrimp is marketed. It is about 85% edible.
4. Cooked meat - The edible portion is picked from cooked shellfish. Crab and some shrimp may be purchased in this manner in containers. It is usually 100% edible.
HOW MUCH TO BUY:
A serving is generally 1/3 to 1/2 Lb. of edible fish. Therefore, for whole fish allow about 1 Lb. per person. For dressed fish allow 1/2 Lb. per person or 3 Lbs. for six people. For steaks, fillets, or sticks, allow 1/3 Lb. per person.
HOW TO KNOW GOOD FISH:
In selecting whole, fresh fish look for bright clear, bulging eyes; reddish-pink gills; bright colored scales adhering tightly to the skin; and elastic fresh, springing back when pressed.