4

Buy Fish Like Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille's Jon Sanchez

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

First, just stay away from the individually wrapped, frozen fish fillets. Don't look at them, don't think about them, and forget they even exist.

Buying fish can often be a daunting task. With rampant concerns over genetically modified species, sustainability, and the long-term effects of farmed fish on health, it's easy to stand at a fish counter temporarily stunned by fear and simple confusion.

The first step to getting past it is to buy fish whole. When you buy the whole animal, you can look at small details.

Make sure the eyes are clear, says Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille's chef de cuisine Jon Sanchez. "The redder the gills, the better."

See Also:

Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille Sets a New Seafood Standard for Las Olas

Hot Peppers: Awesome Trinidadian Food in Pembroke Pines

Smell is also critical. For the untrained but aspirational home cook, it can be hard to distinguish between a good fishy smell and a bad one.

"Imagine you're driving up the coast and get out of your car in South Carolina," Sanchez says. "There's a clear difference between a nice, oceany, salty smell and something that's bad."

If you still can't discern between the two, there's a simple solution (disclaimer: this is not Sanchez's advice). Let a cheap piece of fish sit in the refrigerator for a few days. Take it out. Smell it. You'll never be confused again.

At the store, don't be afraid to demand to smell your fish. Make the person working the counter take it out. Be polite, and get your nose in there.

"If I go to a market to buy scallops because I want to cook a little dinner for a lady, I ask them to smell it," Sanchez says.

With shellfish, you want to buy what's still alive. For oysters, mussels, and clams, that means closed shells.

"Obviously again there's the smell," Sanchez noted, but "you don't have to be afraid of dirty oysters; they are raised in muddy little shore banks. If they're open and they don't close when you touch them, they're dead."

Also be aware of shellfish stored in freshwater. These creatures belong in the salty ocean and if placed into freshwater for storage, they'll essentially drown to death.

If you can't buy whole fish and are stuck with fillets, look closely at the flesh. Sanchez says to keep an eye out for mushy-looking flesh, which means it's been frozen. If it's got any kind of stickiness, it's old, and if it's falling apart with strips of flesh detaching from the thin layers of fat in between, it's a no-no.

"The best way to do it is to go somewhere that has the whole fish and have the guy who will cut it for you," Sanchez says. "It's just a matter of building up that trust and relationship."

Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille is located at 620 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-467-2555, or visit riversidehotel.com/dining/wild-sea-oyster-bar-and-grill.

For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.



Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.