Take the Fear Out of Fish

7 tips for buying, storing and cooking frozen seafood

(Family Features)With more time spent in the kitchen, people are increasingly looking to different ingredients for inspiration. That includes seafood – sales of canned and frozen seafood are 37% higher than last year, according to IRI Worldwide.

If you’re not familiar with buying and cooking seafood, there’s nothing to fear. Frozen seafood is an affordable, nutritious and sustainable protein that can earn a spot in your kitchen. Good food pioneers chef Nora Pouillon, a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and her daughter, Blue Circle Foods product director Nina Damato, offer these recommendations for sustainable frozen seafood, from defrosting techniques to cooking tips and seasonal pairings.

Why buy frozen?

Frozen seafood is just as high quality as fresh since modern techniques like flash-freezing preserve fish moments after it is caught. Stores generally carry a larger selection of frozen fish and it’s typically less expensive than fresh seafood. Because frozen fish keeps longer, you can find greater variety and more sustainable options. Plus, it’s convenient – use exactly the portion you need and save the rest for later – making it perfect for meal planning. 

What about taste?

When done right, freezing locks in flavor and nutrients, so you can enjoy frozen fish that’s every bit as delicious as when it was caught.

How long will it last?

Frozen fish is safe indefinitely, but for best quality, the USDA recommends using frozen fish within 3-8 months after purchase.

How can you thaw frozen fish safely?

If you know you’ll be serving fish, pop frozen fillets in the fridge the night before or the morning you plan to cook them.

How can you cook directly from frozen?

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Remove frozen fillets from packaging and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Arrange fillets on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil on all sides and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until fish is tender and flakes easily.

How should you season frozen fish?

Salt and pepper can enhance seafood’s flavor. If you’re feeling bold, a simple glaze or a crust of seasonings can elevate your fish to the next level.

What pairs well with frozen fish?

Frozen fish is a versatile protein that plays well with many recipes. Fatty fish like salmon brings out the flavors in seasonal veggies including zucchini and summer squash, while leaner fillets like cod can be breaded or used in tacos.

Fish also pairs excellently with a variety of wines. The trick is to serve delicate fish with light wines and heartier fish with richer, more substantial wines. If you’re in the mood for salmon, try Pouillon’s Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon. This recipe also works well with cod and can be served with a rosé for a tasty seasonal pairing.

To learn more about frozen seafood and purchase sustainable fish, visit bluecirclefoods.com.

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon

Recipe courtesy of chef Nora Pouillon

  • 2          cups frozen sweet corn
  • 1          can (4 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1          red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4       cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon smoked chili (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          cup pumpkin seeds
  • 4          teaspoons pumpkin seed oil or olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons sliced scallions
  • 2          Blue Circle Frozen Atlantic Salmon Fillets
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix corn, black beans, bell pepper, cilantro, ground cumin and smoked chili, if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread onto baking dish.
  3. In blender, pulse pumpkin seeds, oil, sliced scallions and salt and pepper, to taste, until paste forms.
  4. Coat frozen salmon fillets with pumpkin seed paste.
  5. Place fillets in baking dish on top of black bean and corn salad. Bake 25-30 minutes.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (salmon on ice)

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