Unless you're eating a fillet of fresh salmon, high-quality frozen salmon trumps "fresh" fish every time.
Because the flash freezing process protects the texture, flavor, and freshness of freshly caught salmon.
That "fresh" salmon you saw at the store? It's most likely frozen fish that has been thawed for exhibition.
Why stay frozen? "It's a huge success for sustainability," says Barton Seaver, a Maine-based chef and seafood educator who used to live in Washington. "It reduces waste and uses seasonal bounty to spread its availability throughout the year." The method has truly transformed frozen products... into a means of capturing exquisite quality, thanks to the introduction of micro-misting and more powerful and quicker deep-freeze technologies at lower temperatures.
A 2016 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation-funded a study that compared consumer preferences for fresh black cod and coho salmon vs. frozen (both purchased at retail) discovered that frozen fish, simply baked, were rated higher or equivalent to their fresh counterparts.
The study also compared the quality of frozen and fresh fish based on the conductivity of cell structure and discovered that the frozen fish scored at least three times higher than the fresh fish.
If you live near a body of water, your fishmonger may be able to provide you with never-frozen, locally caught seafood. This assortment of fish changes according to what local fishermen bring in.
If the fish has been stored on ice, it is at its freshest the day it is caught.
However, fish quickly loses its flavor and texture after the first day. Though it has never been frozen, it is not necessarily fresh. Similarly, "fresh" salmon at the fish counter is most likely not what you believe it is. Be wary if the fishmonger insists on showing you a piece of fresh salmon that has never been frozen.
Typically, your local fishmonger will only be able to provide you with previously frozen salmon.
Unless that "fresh" salmon fillet was flown overnight from the fisherman as a special offering — a prohibitively expensive process — it was very definitely frozen when it arrived at your fishmonger, then thawed for display.
Thawed fish may remain thawed until sold, which may take many days, with quality deteriorating with each passing day. Alternatively, the fishmonger can refreeze and thaw unsold fish for another day. However, refreezing fish in a commercial freezer destroys the texture and reduces the quality.
The best method to lock in all the deliciousness that wild salmon has to offer is to flash-freeze it quickly after it's caught. Fish is occasionally thawed for processing before being supplied to consumers, but as long as this is done efficiently — and the fish is flash-frozen again — the taste, texture, and quality are the same as fresh-off-the-boat.
Purchasing flash-frozen salmon from a reliable vendor assures that the fish has been properly preserved and processed, ensuring you get what you pay for.Click here to get some of the best wild caught, responsibly harvested salmon globally.
Fresh, flash-frozen fish will keep in your freezer until you're ready to eat it. Then, learn how to properly defrost frozen fish to protect its quality before pan-frying the salmon for a simple but delicious lunch.