This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
In a fantasy world we could be hanging out on a beach right now, reading a mystery novel and working on our tan. When dinnertime arrives, we’d stroll to the nearest fish shack to buy freshly-caught fish to cook on the grill at our rental house within sight of the waves.
In reality, we are in self-imposed quarantines, trying to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible and cooking almost every meal at home. When we buy fish, a leisurely perusal of the fresh fish case may not be in the cards. Plus, you are stocking up for a week or more instead of for the next few days, so you need to buy food for the long haul. The solution: frozen fish.
Frozen Fish and Sustainability
In most cases, frozen fish is less expensive than fresh, so there are many times when it fits perfectly into our meal plans. But frozen fish is also a major win for sustainability since it decreases waste, takes advantage of seasonal catches and spreads availability throughout the year. The advances in rapid deep-freeze technologies at lower temperatures allows consumers to buy fish that is frozen within hours of being harvested. which means that frozen can be fresher, or at least in better condition, than the specimens in the fresh seafood case. That’s some seafood for thought.
Frozen Fish from Heinen’s
Today, I’m focusing on Heinen’s new line of frozen fish. The Heinen’s label includes several varieties including Ahi Tuna Steaks, Cod Filets, Sockeye Salmon, Cooked Shrimp, White Shrimp (uncooked) and Swordfish Steaks, so there’s a fish for every taste. The fish is packaged in 1 lb. bags and the filets are individually wrapped inside the bag. This makes it easy to portion what you need and keep the rest frozen for another time. The fish is processed and flash frozen the day it’s caught so the quality is very high. I love how I can stock up on my family’s favorites (we are partial to salmon) and have them on hand to make an impressive dinner on the fly any day of the week.
I often buy fish from the frozen seafood section for the simple reason that it’s always stocked with lots of variety. But convenience is an even more relevant reason for the home cook to buy frozen fish. It’s patiently waiting in your freezer to be thawed and cooked up deliciously on a spur of the moment. During these socially distancing times when we may not be grocery shopping as often, having frozen fish in the freezer makes a lot of sense.
How to Thaw Frozen Fish
It’s easy to thaw fish. The best way is to open the package, remove the individually-wrapped filets and lay them on a plate in the refrigerator the day before you want to use them. That way they thaw slowly, which will result in a nicer texture once cooked. But in real life, I often neglect to think about dinner a day ahead and when I need to thaw fish fast, the packaged fish goes into a sink of cold water to thaw in about 30 minutes. The important thing to remember when thawing fish is that there are no abrupt temperature changes. Don’t thaw in warm water or the microwave. Your fish will be soggy and won’t cook as nicely and there’s also the chance that bacteria can grow in a warm environment. Yuck!
To get you cooking, I’ve included a recipe for Shrimp Pizza with Pineapple and Spinach. In this pizza topper, tart pineapple and sweet grape tomatoes make a great partner with succulent shrimp, spinach and Swiss cheese. Try this option for this Friday’s pizza night and you’ll be eating a delicious, fresh and healthy pizza faster than you can order in. The ingredients I provide make enough for two, pizzas, so you’ll have plenty for second and third helpings. To make it even easier, I direct you to use store bought dough, but if you’re interested in making your own, I’ve included my tried and true pizza dough recipe that I’ve been making for 30 years. You really can’t mess this up.
The second recipe is Grilled Swordfish with Tapenade. Swordfish is the steak of the sea. Firm and meaty, it holds up beautifully on the grill. Nothing could be easier than a quick sear and a topping of that garlicky, rich olive spread from the shores of France, also known as tapenade. If you’d like to up your game, I’ve given you a recipe for olivada, the Italian version of tapenade. Whether you use the jarred stuff or homemade, you’re going to love this beautiful fish topped with salty, rich sauce.
Most of us have been cooking more than usual, feeding our families as healthfully and interestingly as we can. As the weather warms and we change up our cooking patterns for a new season, we may not be closer to that beach fantasy, but we can still eat delicious fish. Stay safe everyone!