Fish is a healthy product, but choosing a good fish when you are a beginner in the kitchen can be tricky. I want to share with you some tips to properly judge the quality and freshness of the fish before buying it.
First, know that a fish must be bought naked (the fish, not you!). Only in this way will you be able to judge its quality. So don’t waste time with prepared fishes, ready made stuffed fishes… All these preparations can mask the poor quality of fish.
Specific freshness criteria of fish
The criteria of freshness can sometimes be specific to a species of fish. For example, the John Dory has a spot on its side that must be very dark and well defined. In the case of a red mullet, its color must be very bright and not faded. We develop specific criteria for various fishes in another article. However, some freshness criteria are common to all fish.
Common criteria for choosing fish
1. The body of the fish must be rigid or arched.
2. The fish should be bright, with a metallic luster.
3. The eye should be bright, vivid, and brilliant.
4. The gills should be bright, wet, pink or red.
5. The smell should be pleasant and mild.
6. Scales should be shiny and not detach themselves.
7. The abdomen should not be stretched or have green spots.
8. The skin should be shiny, and slippery to the touch.
In all cases, avoid buying a fish without eyes or head, or already scaled (e.g. mullet). If your fishmonger says it’s a service for the client, you say that he could have done this after purchase, so go and have a look elsewhere!
Could I have forgotten something? Please share your tips for choosing fish with the others readers in the comments below.