Part of my goal with this blog is to make it less intimidating for folks living inland to find and choose good quality seafood. One of the main reasons us inlanders seem to shy away from eating aquatics is there are a multitude of ways their handling and care can go awry, particularly when traveling a great distance.
Below I have laid out a quick guide to picking quality product, and included my favorite local fishmongers for Salt Lake dwellers to try out.
When buying whole fish…
Check the eyes:
They should be clear, plump, wet, and shiny.
Not sunken, cloudy, and dry.
Check the gills:
They should be bright red, clean, and cold.
Not brown-red and slimy.
Check the fins:
They should be wet and intact.
Not ragged and torn.
Touch the flesh:
It should be cold, wet, slippery, and spring back to its natural shape.
Not soft and sticky.
Touch the scales:
They should be shiny and firm.
Not shedding, dry, and flaky.
When buying filleted or butchered…
Flesh should be firm, with no cracks between muscles and collagen sheaths.
Container should be dry, with no liquid pooling in the bottom.
White fish (halibut and cod) should be fairly translucent, not opaque.
Darker fish (tuna and salmon) should be bright, saturated color, with contrast between fat and muscle.
All flesh should be wet and glossy.
Not sticky, dry, or chalky.
See? Not all that tricky when you know what to look for. When it comes to buying local in the Salty City my two favorites are Aquarius Fish and Fog River. The latter was my sushi master’s workplace for nearly five years during her hiatus from restaurant life, she developed their sushi grade fish program. Before her, sushi restaurants had to drive out to the airport themselves to pick up their product.
Fog is currently only a supplier, but it working on developing a store front. In the meantime, they seafood can be acquired at a variety of local markets.