There has been much debate over whether frozen fish is as good as fresh, and while generally there is no noticeable difference, there are times when it can carry a certain “frozen” taste. If prepared right, though, it’s practically impossible to tell the difference between a fish you took out of the freezer and a fish you just pulled out of the water.
Keep It From Getting Mushy
Fish comes in a wonderful variety of flavors and textures, but there is one texture it generally shouldn’t be – mushy. A mushy fish is a sure sign that it was not only once frozen, but thawed out improperly. And sadly, no matter how good your seasonings and marinades are, the texture of a mushy fish makes any meal unpleasant.
A good way to avoid this is to slowly thaw out the fish overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t thaw it out on the counter, as that will invite bacteria to grow on your meal. Even the tastiest fish isn’t worth getting food poisoning for.
Let It Marinate
Fish has a great flavor on its own, but the right marinade can bring it to a whole new level. The infused oils and citrus base of most marinades can easily cut through any lingering frozen flavors, and best of all, fish absorbs marinade quickly – usually within 15 minutes if the fish is thawed.
Thawing out fish fillets in milk is another great overnight hack! Again, this should be done in the refrigerator, not out on the counter, but the fat in milk helps further remove any “fishy” flavors and adds a milk sweetness to the flesh. Just make sure to use either whole or 2% milk.
Put the frozen fillets in a metal or glass baking dish and submerge them entirely in milk – you can also add fresh herbs to the milk for extra flavoring. Leave them in the fridge for at least eight hours, then remove them from the milk. Pat them dry with a paper towel but don’t rinse the milk off – the milk will add some nice browning if you bake or pan-fry it.
If your fish is already thawed out, a quick 10-20 minute soak in milk will also remove the fishy taste and replace it with freshness.
Be sure to pour the leftover milk down the drain. Even if you didn’t add herbs or seasonings, it’s not fit to drink or use in other cooking.
Rinse Under Cold Water
Say you forgot to take out that frozen fish last night and now you only have a little time before dinner. What do you do? In a pinch, rinsing a frozen fish under cold water until the ice crystals are gone is a viable option.
Once you’ve partially thawed it that way, you have several options for making a delicious meal. You can rub it in olive oil and bake it in the oven with spices and marinades. Or cut the fish into thin, uniform pieces and cook it as a key component in a flavorful stir-fry.
Feeling hungry? Check out incredible fish recipes on our blog!