How to Tell if Your Fish is Fresh

Chef Michael Anthony shares tips for buying and cooking fresh fish.

Read the transcript of this video
[MUSIC] All right, so now, while our coleslaw is marinating and we've got a piece of flounder, great summertime fish on the East Coast, an amazing example of local fish. Easy to cook. Because it's a flat fish. You can see that the filet itself is meaty at one end and thin at another. I've trimmed just a little portion off to remove the bones that are the head of the fish. I think it's a wonderful expression of summertime. And the idea with this dish is to try to introduce and encourage people to cook fish I think that sometimes there may be a feeling that, mm, people aren't sure exactly how to cook it, how to handle it. Fish tends to fall apart easily, so I'd like to show you how to go about doing this in a way that can make you feel confident. So, I have a pan that is getting hot over here. I think it's important to take a nonstick pan with a thin fillet because this is gonna cook fast. I'm gonna season it with salt and pepper on both sides. [BLANK_AUDIO] In terms of buying fish the best way to tell whether it's fresh or not is to see it whole. Sometimes we have the ability to go to a fishmonger and you can tell by looking at the eyes The eyes are clear, not cloudy. You can look at the gill, it's bright red, not slimy. The fish itself is firm, smells clean and is moist all the way through. Once the filet is, once the fish is filet and you're looking at only meat, then you can tell by the firmness of the flesh. Just the touch will let you know whether it's still fresh or not as this one is. And you can use your nose. Fish is really very telling. You'll know whether you're in for a pristine experience or not. So you can tell with your nose whether there is an ammoniated aroma or the fresh clean smell of the ocean. Obviously you're looking for very little aroma to come off of any fish. And that really is the only fish that you should be serving. All right, so now that our pan is hot, and the oil is almost ready to start smoking, we are almost there. We are going to give it just another minute. I have it on high heat here. Now it's important to use high heat. We don't really wanna smoke the oil. The oil will ultimately start to change flavor if it smokes but we do wanna get this filet in the pan and out rather quickly. Alright so the temperature of the pan is there. Our fish is seasoned. I'm gonna add it gently so that I don't splash the oil that's in the pan. And I'm gonna keep it on high heat at this point. It's gonna cook very fast. This is a thin piece of fish. Beautiful condition Fish is really delicious when it's not overcooked. I'm gonna make a point of using a couple of little secrets here to help make it taste delicious. I'm gonna smash a clove of garlic and put it in the pan with the fish. I'm gonna take a little bit of thyme, And set it in the pan. I'm gonna put just a touch of butter. Our idea is not to make this a fatty preparation, but it's just to give a little bit of that brown butter aroma. It'll start to brown up around the edges of the fish and make it delicious. That butter will also help us To get the fish up and out of the pan, cuz it has a tendency to wanna stick. We can roll that butter around, [BLANK_AUDIO] And the garlic and the thyme helps also to just kind of make everything taste. Amazingly delicious. All right. So we're not gonna be afraid to get our other hand in the pan. We're gonna get the spatula under it and lay it over in the pan. [BLANK_AUDIO] We're gonna use a spoon to do a little baste. [SOUND] We're taking that brown butter that naturally happens when the, basically the butter and the pan starts to burn. It's a controlled burn, and it smells so beautiful. If the pan is a little too hot pull it back away from the heat. I'm tipping a little bit just to give it a little baste. Some of the herbs and the garlic can make it take delicious. I get ready to take this to the plate, I'm going to turn the heat off. [MUSIC]
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How to Tell if Your Fish is Fresh