On a scale of one to 10, our foodies rate fresh seafood a 15, or so. Boasting a boatload of appetizing attributes, it’s magnificently flavorful, good for your heart and easy to prepare. Plus, we are careful to source our seafood sustainably, so you can feel good for shore!
Reeling in the Nutritional Benefits of Seafood
The American Heart Association recommends you make seafood an anchor of your diet, treating yourself to two servings per week. Lean and low in cholesterol and saturated fat, seafood is a source of:
- Protein — essential for energy and maintaining healthy muscle mass
- Vitamins B6 and B12 — needed to help the body break down potentially harmful metabolic byproducts; vital for proper neural and circulatory functions
- Selenium — an antioxidant that helps boost the immune system
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids — associated with lower risk of heart disease
Note: according to the FDA and EPA, women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant, nursing women and young children should limit their consumption of certain types of fish and shellfish. To learn more, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration web site at FDA.gov.
The Best Catch — Choosing Seafood
Selecting seafood isn’t difficult. When purchasing, our foodies recommend you look for these obvious qualities:
- A mild scent — not “fishy”
- Moist, firm flesh that springs back when pressed — no traces of browning or drying around the edges
- Airtight, frost-free packaging — no air between seafood and wrapping material, and no liquid or sign of frost or ice inside in the package
Big Fish Story — How Much To Buy
Seafood is often very perishable, so it is helpful to have an idea about the quantity you will need when serving. If you feel you have bought too much, we recommend you freeze uncooked excess immediately.
||Amount Per Person
|Cooked crabmeat, cooked lobster meat,
surimi seafoods, cooked and peeled shrimp,
raw cleaned squid
||¼ to ⅓ lb.
|Whole or round fish
|| ¾ to 1 lb.
|Dressed or clean fish
||½ to ¾ lb.
|Fillets and steaks
||⅓ to ½ lb.
||1 to 2 lb.
||1 to 2 lb.
||12 to 15
|Live oysters (depending on size)
||6 to 12
Source: National Fisheries Institute
|Live claims (depending on size)
||6 to 12
The Size of a Shrimp
Shrimp are graded by size and count (the average number of shrimp per pound). The smaller the count, the bigger each individual shrimp.
The approximate counts, which can vary by shrimp type, are:
- Extra Jumbo (16-20 count):
Great stuffed with crabmeat
or skewered and grilled
- Extra Large (26-30):
Terrific broiled or battered and fried
- Large (31-40 count):
Super for shrimp cocktail or scampi
- Medium (41-50 count):
Good in stir-fry or mixed with pasta
Expect shrimp to reduce in weight by half during preparation. One pound of raw shrimp in the shell, for example, yields about 1⁄2 pound after peeling and cooking.
That’s a Keeper! — Storing Seafood
There’s no question that the proper storage of seafood is critical to maintaining its flavor and healthful integrity. Following are some tried and true measures to keep your seafood tasting fresh off the line.
- Clean (eviscerate) whole fish before storing. Drain in a stainless steel pan with perforated bottom rack.
- Store in the coldest part of the cooler or refrigerator — between 32 and 35ºF.
- If storing in ice, cover with a fresh towel first.
- Prepare within 1-2 days.
- Place in a covered container or wrap in foil. Store in the refrigerator no longer than three days and in the freezer three to six months maximum.
Live and Fresh Shellfish
- Refrigerate at 32 – 40°F in a container covered with a clean, damp cloth or newspaper.
- If live, don’t seal in a plastic bag or keep in fresh water; they will suffocate or drown.
- Pack raw or fresh shell-on shrimp in flaked or crushed ice.
- Discard any live shellfish that has died.
- Store fresh shellfish no longer than one to two days.
- Keep live lobsters in tanks at a 34 –36°F filtered water temperature.
- Keep in original wrapper for up to 6 months at 0°F.
- Use immediately after thawing.
- Store at a steady temperature of 0 – 29°F for three months to over a year, depending on the species, packaging and handling.
- Don’t leave at room temperature for too long between delivery and storage.
- Don’t thaw and refreeze; this will negatively affect the taste and texture.
- Rotate your frozen seafood, using it on a first in, first out basis.
- Never thaw breaded products prior to cooking.
- Store in a cool, dry place for up to one year.
- Refrigerate for up to six months. Once opened, keep only three to five days.
The Big Thaw — Defrosting Seafood Safely
Fresh frozen seafood can be delicious, but proper thawing is necessary to retain its flavor and texture. Fish foodies follow these guidelines:
- Thaw slowly over 24 hours in refrigerator (32 - 35°F), but never at room temperature. Keep covered and allow for drainage.
- To thaw more quickly, place in a plastic bag and immerse in cold water or run cold water over the bag. Don’t thaw uncovered in water; fish will become saturated and lose flavor.
- To thaw in the microwave, place a pound at a time in a shallow microwavable dish and cover with a plastic wrap; cut a couple slits in wrap to vent. Microwave on defrost setting until fish is still icy but supple.
- Never refreeze thawed seafood.
Ship Shape — Seafood Preparation
Preparing seafood is simpler than it appears. With some focused concern on safe handling techniques and some basic timing guidelines, you can cook up a savory seafood dish whether you’re a first-timer or a fisherman from way back.
- Keep iced until ready to prepare.
- Rinse before preparing.
- Never allow raw seafood to come in contact with prepared or cooked food. Wash and sanitize utensils, cutting surfaces, sponges and hands frequently while handling raw fish.
- Cooked quickly at high temperatures for best flavor. Measure fish at its thickest part and cook the fish 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Note that this “10 minute rule” is simply a guideline.
- Broiled or sauté frozen fillets and steaks without thawing.
- Peel shell-on shrimp while raw before adding to a cooked dish; for salads and cocktails, cook and chill the shrimp before peeling.
- Cook shrimp for two to three minutes.
- Cook an average weight lobster (1-1½ lbs.) for about 15 minutes.
- Cook clams, mussels and oysters about five minutes — they are done when their shells open. Discard shellfish that remain shut.
From Bait to Plate — Easy Seafood Cooking Techniques
Cooking seafood is relatively simple. It generally cooks quickly with simple seasonings. Each technique method may be applied to a variety of seafood selections.
- Grilling — appropriate for most fish and shellfish firm enough to maintain its form when exposed to intense heat. More delicate selections should be grilled in foil or a fish grilling basket.
- Baking — suitable for virtually all seafood, requires little or no added fat, and is therefore a healthy way to cook. Keep fish moist while cooking to combat dry oven heat.
- Sautéing — refers to using a skillet with oil, butter or margarine over moderate heat. Whole small fish, thick fillets, shucked shellfish, large shrimp and scallops are all suitable for sautéing.
- Microwaving — an excellent preparation method for the health conscious and busy, as it requires no added fat, and is also a very convenient way to cook.
- Broiling — excellent for whole fish, steaks and fillets. Thicker cuts should be placed further from the heat than thinner ones.
- Poaching — ideal for any moderately firm-fleshed fish and most shellfish. Simply place fish in a large skillet, sauté pan or fish poacher filled with boiling liquid.
- Steaming — good for whole fish, shellfish, seafood chunks, steaks and stuffed fillets.
- Roasting — involves cooking fish uncovered in the oven using little or no liquid other than that produced by the fish. Chilean sea bass, bluefish, herring or whitefish all do well roasted.