FQA: Fish Questions Answered, Vol. 4

FQA: Fish Questions Answered, Vol. 4

In today's episode of Fish Questions Answered, Helen Stonhill, our Marketing Deckhand, answers three of your excellent questions about ... you guessed it ... fish!

If you have a question for Helen, and would like her to answer it in this column, just send her an email at support@sea2table.com.

What Is Your Mildest Fish, and Why is Some Fish "Fishy"?

Dear Helen, 
What is the mildest fish you have, because I love fish when it’s not fishy. 
— Love and Loathing in Las Vegas

Dear Vegas,
There is really only one reason that fish could taste fishy.  Simple answer: It’s not fresh. Long Scientific Answer: When fish die, the bacteria on/in their bodies begins to break down and create trimethylamine (TMA) which is what gives off the “fishy” smell. So the longer the dead fish is unfrozen, the fishier it will smell. All the seafood offered by Sea to Table is flash frozen—at sea or very soon after it's landed—at its peak freshness, so TMA never forms and neither do “fishy” odors or tastes.If you ever, ever, ever get a fishy fish from Sea to Table, we want to know about it.

As far as mild goes, our selection of seafoods all have different taste profiles, and we have something for everyone. In your case, looking for a milder flavored fish, I would start with our Northwest Pacific Halibut. Halibut has a distinctively clean and mild flavor, and is popular with fish lovers and fish novices alike. But I don’t want to discourage you from trying our bolder flavored offerings, such as our Wild Alaskan Sockeye & Coho Salmon, which have not a trace of "fishiness." And, for mildness-meets-luxury (at an affordable price), I’d give our Atlantic Sea Scallops a try.


I'm Hungry, But My Fish Is Still Frozen

Dear Helen,
I planned a meal for tonight centered on Sea to Table salmon, then forgot to take the fish out of the freezer last night. 24 hours in the fridge is therefore not an option—is there a second-best way to defrost in time to cook tonight?
—Novice in NYC

Dear Novice,
Having a freezer full of food is a wonderful thing...in theory. However, in practice, it’s incredibly difficult (some might even say impossible) to remember to thaw that food a day ahead of time. The recommended method of thawing frozen fish overnight in the fridge can not only take hours, it also requires planning. If you are like me, you are very bad at that. Sea to Table recommends a 24 hour refrigerator thaw because it is completely foolproof. No chance of food poisoning and has the very best quality results.

But, you want to eat that beautiful salmon today, not tomorrow. Thankfully, there is a way: The water bath thaw. Just unwrap your fish from the outer paper wrapping, leaving it in the vacuum sealed bag, and cover with cool water. Defrosted this way, your fish should be ready to cook in one to three hours.

For reasons of food safety and quality, never, ever defrost your fish in the microwave, on the counter, in the dishwasher, or on the hood of your car.  

Why Doesn't Salt Water Fish Taste Salty?


Dear Helen,
Here’s one that will blow your mind. Why doesn’t saltwater fish taste salty?
—Conundrum in California

Dear Conundrum,
Wow. Mind officially blown! ? It seems to make sense that saltwater fish would be salty. Given the laws of chemistry (in this case, osmosis), all their body fluids should be constantly seeping out while saltwater seeps in. But...I looked it up and believe it or not, saltwater fish and freshwater fish have about the same amount of salt in their bodies. How can this be possible, as saltwater fish spend their days soaking in saltwater? Tada! To the rescue come the chloride cells in their gills, the main component of marine fish anatomy that helps remove the salt they suck up. It’s a fairly complex process that I don’t entirely understand, involving special cell components and a tubular network that extracts the salt and squirts it back out the gills. Marine fish have to work hard to keep their body chemistries in balance, considering they’re living in a medium that’s about four times saltier than they are. This process is called osmoregulation (my new goal is to work the word “osmoregulation” into more conversations).

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