Fish is highly perishable, so it's important you determine the freshness yourself. Check before purchasing and again before cooking. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Smell. By far, this is the best way to determine freshness. Fresh fish should have a slight sea or salty smell to it or no odor at all. Any off-odors or ammonia smell are a sure sign of age or poor handling.
- Texture. Generally, the texture of fish should be firm and spring back when you press against it with your finger.
- Appearance. Fish fillets should be moist and glistening.
- Check the eyes. If purchasing a whole fish, the eyes should appear clear and full. Over time, the eyes will begin to lose moisture and sink back.
- Check the gills. If purchasing a whole fish, the gills should be pink in color with no traces of brown or grey.
- Check the belly. There should be no sign of "belly burn", or rib bones protruding into the belly cavity, which indicates that the inside of the fish was not removed promptly. There should be no tearing or breaks in the mea
Temperature is most important when storing freshly purchased Verlasso salmon. All fresh fish should be stored at temperatures between 30° and 34°F. Verlasso salmon is shipped fresh on ice within 24 hours and should be stored that way from the time it is removed from the fish case.
- Ask the fishmonger for a bag of ice to place the fish on once it has been wrapped. This will ensure that the fish stays cold in transit.
- Once home, fill a plastic bag with ice, put it in a small colander, and then put the colander into a bowl.
- Gently place the covered fish on top of the plastic bag. The colander will allow the excess water to drain as the ice melts.
- Switch out the ice every day.
- Most importantly, use the fish within two days.
Verlasso salmon has a delicate flavor and texture that makes cooking simple and consistent. Unlike meat and poultry, it is very important to cook fish until just done. Over-cooking is the most common mistake that home cooks make when preparing fish. Here is the Verlasso guide to determining doneness.
- Translucent flesh will become opaque. Raw fish appears somewhat translucent. As it cooks, the flesh will become opaque.
- Flesh becomes firm. The flesh of most fish and shellfish firms up as it cooks. Doneness can be tested by judging the resistance of the flesh to your finger. Raw or undercooked fish will be mushy and soft. When cooking, the flesh becomes more resistant and springs back when touched.
- Flesh separates easily from the bone. Undercooked fish will stick to the bone, but when done, the flesh will easily separate from the bones.
- Flesh begins to flake. Fish flesh consists of short muscle fibers separated by thin connective tissue. As the fish cooks, the connective tissue breaks down and the muscle fibers separate from each other, creating the flakiness that makes fish delicious.
- Cooking time. The basic rule for fish is that it will be done in 8 minutes per inch of thickness.
- Temperature. In general, the internal temperature of salmon when it is properly cooked is 140° F.
- Fish is subject to carryover cooking. This means that is will continue to cook even after you take it away from the heat. Always serve fish as soon as it is cooked.