Fish Do’s and Don’ts

 

Little Buddha's sushi combo

Everything about fish brings a smile to our face.  Fishing creates a hearty atmosphere among hobbyists and fishermen.  People who go to the market to look for fishes are happy when they have found fresh ones to feed their family.  They do not feel awkward and stuffy when they eat a big amount of it in one sitting because of its low fat content and high nutritional values.

Most fishes are excellent sources of protein, vitamins and minerals.  In fact, the Food Standards Agency requires us to eat at least two portions of fish a week, combined with a serving of Omega-3 rich oily fishes like salmon, sardines and fresh tuna, which studies have shown can help in preventing heart disease, and for improving IQ, immune functions, symptoms of arthritis and certain skin problems.

Don’ts

However, not all fishes are healthy for you.  Indulging on a good portion of shrimps three times a week can increase the risk of heart disease due to its high cholesterol content.  The same for canned mackerel, which are very oily and may contain mercury especially the ones that have been caught near busy bridges and piers by the bay.  Likewise pass on wild catfishes and  trout that swim in the lakes nearby chemically fertilized land and industrial areas, as they are rightly exposed to contamination.

Meanwhile in France, there is a widespread of Dory Fish fillets that have caused interest among fish lovers because of its mild flavor and inexpensive price.  The Panga, as it is known in its native Vietnamese origin is cheap simply because they’re raised in the polluted Mekong River and fed with dead fish remnants and bones.  The female Pangas are injected with hormones coming from a Chinese pharmaceutical company so they could lay 500,000 eggs at one time, hence the reason why they are abundantly found in supermarkets in Singapore and in Europe.  Despite the poisonous contents of bacteria, arsenic and industrial effluents, they are still accepted for public consumption.

Do’s

Do be aware of the sources and nutrients of each fish that you eat. Restaurants and fish markets in Old Sharm serve the freshest fish from Alexandria, Dumyat, Port Said and Suez.  These cities are in close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea where the juiciest saltwater fish like Denis (Golden Bream or Orata in Italian), Boori or Barbouni (Red Mullet), Hammur (Grouper), Karous (Sea Bass), Kalamaari (Squid), Octopus, Al-Inklis (Eels) dwell.  They make a delicious and healthy food for the reason that they only eat shellfishes, mostly shrimps.

Gambari (Shrimp), Istakoza (Lobster) and Saratan (Crab) are likewise sought after in Sharm.  Seafood restaurants are well-versed in preparing these shell and salt fishes due to the high demand of fish dishes by tourists, thus restaurant guests and fish shops are often guaranteed fresh and good quality ones every day.

When shopping for fresh fish, start in the morning right after the fishermen delivers their early morning catch. Likewise, take a hint from the smell.  Fish or any kind of food for that matter is never good when it reeks of stench.

If you’re buying a whole fish, check the eyes if they’re clear; a dull-eyed fish is as spoiled as it looks.  The scales should be shiny and clean like a polished metal, while the gills should be rich red.

Fish fillets are a staple among working wives for it takes away the effort of cleaning, deboning and cutting, providing them relief for an easy and juicy grill or steam.  If you don’t find filleted ones, you can have a whole fish filleted by the fishmonger.  It is important that the chosen fillets should reflect a shiny skin and a vibrant flesh.  If the fish has liquid, make sure it’s clear and not milky.  You can also tell its freshness by pressing it with your fingers; your fingerprint should disappear when you remove it, otherwise choose another one.

As for shellfishes, you can buy them fresh only when they’re still alive and clamping their claws, otherwise they should be stored in the freezer to lengthen its freshness.

Savor the real flavor of these fish; poach, steam, braise, grill or bake it in a low temperature oven so you can still savor the rich flavor and valuable nutrients it give.

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