Most people love seafood. It’s tasty, often high-brow, and shellfish come in their own little bit-sized package - perfect for snacks and serving at parties. Unfortunately, not many of these people actually live near the ocean, where seafood is plentiful. They don't have the advantage of having their seafood caught and prepared right under their noses, so they need a little help when it comes to choosing the right specimens. For those people, here are a few things to remember when buying seafood:
1. Fresh is not the same as high quality. Of course it goes without saying that fresh fish is generally better for you than frozen, but just because your local fishmonger displays his wares (especially shellfish) live in an aquarium, lighting it so that everything looks scrumptious, it does not follow that these animals are fit to be eaten. Anyone can pull a fish out of a harbour and sell it on the street, but buying this fish, which has never been subjected to any food agency's guidelines, should be undertaken only with extreme care by people who know what to look for. National chain store fish is a much safer bet for the uninitiated.
2. Cheaper is not always better. Seafood is not like breakfast cereal. While supermarket brand oat-e-os have the same taste and quality of name brand Cheerios for a fraction of the price, choosing cheap seafood often means it is of a lower quality or close to its expiration date - something you might not notice before you serve it to all your friends. Always check the expiration date before you buy and look for the okay of an inspection agency on the label.
3. Fish shouldn’t smell fishy when you buy it. Fresh fish have bright, shiny, intact scales, clear eyes and red gills. It should also have very little smell, and what smell it does have should be clean. Anything with a strong, cloying, or unpleasant odour should be avoided at all costs.