Cook It Frozen!

Cook It FrozenThis week I had planned to discuss a cool trick to make clear ice cubes at home. When it comes to cocktails clear ice cubes are way better than the cloudy cubes that come from our freezers. So I did my research. Most of the methods involved boiling, filtering and using distilled water. But guess what? None of those methods actually worked. I was crushed (Ha, get it? Crushed!).

So instead I’m stepping out from behind the bar this week to go fishing.

No. Not really go fishing. But I’d like to tell you a neat trick when it comes buying the very best seafood. I just might ruffle a few feathers or perhaps I should say scrape a few scales the wrong way, but I want you to know that there’s nothing wrong with buying frozen fish. Of course there are a few guidelines and you need to be armed with some pertinent information. But sometimes buying frozen fish can be preferable to buying never previously frozen fish. Which isn’t exactly the same thing as fresh.

Yes, I’m geeking out on you again. But I when I really did go fishing with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI to friends) I learned a thing ot two. During the time our rods weren’t out to sea we sat around and discussed all sorts of valuable information regarding Wild-Caught Alaska Seafood. Including this fun fact. When it comes to fish. You can cook it frozen. There are plenty of good reasons to do this too.

The quality of seafood can begin to decline immediately after being caught. Flash freezing it as soon as possible helps retain the quality and seals in “freshness”. When fish are flash frozen at sea while still on board the boat it has the capability of retaining most of the great qualities of straight from the ocean fish. Notice I said straight from the ocean and not fresh. Because I’m trying to let you know that the word fresh (as with local, organic and wild) can be misleading. Because in terms of the retailer fresh may simply mean never previously frozen. If you live in Indiana fresh from the ocean is a relative term. There’s no ocean in Indiana. So never previously frozen fish traveled a great distance under unknown conditions. It’s probably terrific and I’m not trying to worry you. But as good as it may be, frozen at sea might just be better. Besides many seemingly fresh fish have actually been flash frozen and then thawed by your fishmonger.

I’m sorry for all the qualifiers. But it’s a complicated subject. I don’t want you to think that I don’t love straight from the ocean fish. In fact ASMI brought in two chefs (Dan Enos & Patrick Hoogerhyde) to cook up plenty of straight from the ocean fish for us while we were in Alaska. It was some of the best stuff I’ve eaten in my life. If I could only eat straight from the ocean fish I probably would. I mean why not, right? But never previously frozen fish has some of the same problems for me as local, organic and wild. Sure it’s preferable in its purest form (probably), but you just can’t feed the entire world or be even be guaranteed the best possible product strictly using these monikers.

Which brings me to to the question “just what the heck can you do with frozen seafood”? Well, pardon the smart-ass in me– but you can sauté, roast, broil, steam, poach or grill it. You can thaw it first, overnight in the refrigerator– or you can Cook it Frozen. That’s right frozen like a brick! There’s even an app for that. So I won’t get all geeky about the details, except to say it’s super easy and can be an amazing time-saver or even make you look like a genius when impromptu parties pop up at your house. GREG