The following post and photography were 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 the middle of another Midwest winter, trying to get to and from the grocery store quickly and safely. 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 is 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 indeed be fresh. That’s some seafood for thought.
Frozen Fish at Heinen’s
I’m a huge fan of Heinen’s line of frozen fish, which includes Ahi Tuna Steaks, Cod Filets, Sockeye Salmon, Cooked Shrimp, White Shrimp (uncooked), Swordfish Steaks and more. The fish is packaged in 1 lb. bags and the filets are individually wrapped inside the bag; however, if you’re really looking to stock up, they offer a 2 lb. bag of frozen Atlantic salmon that is sustainably raised in Norway. It is truly out of this world in terms of flavor and texture.
These seafood options make 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 on a spur of the moment.
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. In real life, I often neglect to think about dinner a day ahead, so 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 to avoid abrupt temperature changes. Don’t thaw in warm water or the microwave. Your fish will be soggy and there’s also the chance that bacteria can grow in a warm environment.
Frozen Seafood Recipe Inspiration
To get you cooking, here are a few delicious recipes featuring Heinen’s frozen seafood:
- Lemon Herb Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
- Mini Seafood Pot Pies
- Mediterranean Baked Orange Roughy
- Pesto Shrimp Zoodles
- Baked Coconut Shrimp and Shishito Peppers
- Garlic Butter Scallop Linguine
Most everyone wants feed their family as healthfully and interestingly as possible. 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.