How to Pick Fresh Fish

Photo by Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

Don Gibson has been fishing since his late teens.  He has fished in the Florida Keyes, the Florida Gulf and Florida Atlanta. Needless to say he knows a thing or two about how to pick fresh fish.

Don Gibson has been fishing since his late teens.  He has fished in the Florida Keyes, the Florida Gulf and Florida Atlantic. Needless to say he knows a thing or two about how to pick fresh fish.  Here are some tips:

  • If the heads are on the fish, look at the eyes to see if they are cloudy or clear.  Clearer eyes suggest a fresher fish.
  • Check the flexibility of the fish.  Is it more stiff or flexible?  The flexibility is a good thing.
  • A soft and soggy fish is not good.  Firm and bouncey is what you want.
  • It has to be somewhat fishy but no overbearing smell.  Sometimes the fish smell is an indication of freshness.

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Italian: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

Calamari Salad:  a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa de sette pesci) is a uniquely Italian tradition from Southern Italy, celebrated on Christmas Eve (also known as “the vigil” or “La Vigilia”). Although some parts of Italy do not celebrate the feast, it is believed to be an authentically Italian tradition going back to the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from the Italian xmas eveconsumption of meat or milk products on Fridays and specified holy days. In the stead of meat, Catholics ate fish, typically fried in oil. Other seafood has been incorporated into the celebration as well.

So why seven fish? The story is debatable. Some say it has to do with the number of sacraments celebrated in the Catholic church, while others say that it has everything to do with the Biblical meaning of the number seven representing perfection. No matter what the story…that’s a whole lotta’ seafood, so there’s bound to be a whole lotta’ family and friends and fun.

Popular dishes include

The meal’s components may include some combination of anchovieswhitinglobstersardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eelssquidoctopusshrimpmussels and clams. The menu may also include pastasvegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

Popular dishes

many more. See allrecipes.com for menu tips for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Fried Smelts: a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Recipe from Alaska – Bouillabaisse-Alaska

Bouillabaisse -Alaska
Ingredients
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 leeks cut in small wedges
4 tomatoes (squeeze out seeds then dice)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon saffron
2 crushed bay leaves
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil
4 pounds fresh fish cut in bite-size pieces (whatever you have, red snapper, halibut, scallops, salmon, sea perch, etc.) Include, in shell, well scrubbed clams, mussels, whole shrimp, lobster, etc.
4 cups hot water
This wonderful Alaskan dish can be served any time of the year and is especially delightful when made with you very own catch.
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add vegetables and spices to hot oil. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are transparent. Add fish and cover with 4 cups hot water. Heat on high and force boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
To serve, arrange 3/4 slices of French bread (which have been dried in oven and brushed in butter) in bowls before serving.
Serves: 8
* You found this recipe on 1st Traveler’s Choice Internet Cookbook. (www.virtualcities.com)
This Alaska Bouillabaisse is from Henry's Great Alaskan Restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska

This Alaska Bouillabaisse is from Henry's Great Alaskan Restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska

Ingredients

1/4 cup chopped onion

4 leeks cut in small wedges

4 tomatoes (squeeze out seeds then dice)

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fennel

1 teaspoon saffron

2 crushed bay leaves

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

3 teaspoons white pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup olive oil

4 pounds fresh fish cut in bite-size pieces (whatever you have, red snapper, halibut, scallops, salmon, sea perch, etc.) Include, in shell, well scrubbed clams, mussels, whole shrimp, lobster, etc.

4 cups hot water

This wonderful Alaskan dish can be served any time of the year and is especially delightful when made with you very own catch.

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add vegetables and spices to hot oil. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are transparent. Add fish and cover with 4 cups hot water. Heat on high and force boil for 15 to 20 minutes.

To serve, arrange 3/4 slices of French bread (which have been dried in oven and brushed in butter) in bowls before serving.

Serves: 8

* Recipe is from 1st Traveler’s Choice Internet Cookbook. (www.virtualcities.com) and the picture is from Trailside Gourmet