2. Know What To Look For
Glistening eyes that are bulbous and clear, a firmness in appearance and to the touch, scales that are tightly composed and are unaffected by bruising, abrasions or deep cuts, and a light ocean or seaweed odour.
Ensure the fillets are dry and not sitting in a puddle of their juices, ice and water, that the skin is intact, free from bruising and marking, and that the flesh is translucent and glassy (it should not appear to be foggy, milky or have a brown lateral muscle, as these are all key indicators of a poorly handled fish).
All of the above quality points are relevant, but also be certain to check packaging dates and inspect quality of freezing to make sure there is no freezer burn (tell-tale signs of which include ice crystals on the fish itself and discolouration in spots).
3. Get The Work Done For You
If you would like a fish to be filleted, de-boned, butterflied or have its skin removed, then ask for it! There is nothing wrong with getting a professional to do this for you, especially if it will improve your experience with the fish once you get home.
4. Look Past The Top Tier
You don’t always need to buy the centre cut of a fillet or pay top dollar for the most premium fish available. Instead, if a recipe calls for fish mince, or just the collars or even the tail of the fish, be specific and ask for these items. It would be ludicrously expensive to mince beef fillet or sirloin for a lasagne (not to mention it being the wrong cut to be cooking for hours). Fish have muscles and components to them that offer different flavours and textures and – importantly – come in at different price points. In short, start thinking about buying fish like you would meat.
5. Ask About Cooking
While you are shopping, ask about cookery methods that are applicable to the fish you have chosen. You might pick up some good advice that will lead not only to a delicious dinner but also a greater confidence moving forward.