Brain Foods

Brain Foods

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Big Food on Fish

Big Food on Fish

While I suppose it is a bit out of the ordinary to open a fish article with such a quote, it makes sense with regard to Big Food. Because, as you will soon see, fish stands tail and fins above every other Big Food comestible as something that does not keep well for longer than a few days in the refrigerator, and does not freeze well at all. (That last statement is a divisive one. I am certain that many of you reading this will disagree: "I've frozen uncooked fish before, and it's been perfectly edible," you say, and perhaps that's the case for you. But generally speaking, fresh fish that's been frozen by you, at home, is certain to be mealy and lackluster.)

Sure, there are plenty of fish lovers out there who take advantage of the deeply discounted prices that buying in bulk offers: They come home toting an 8-pound salmon and think they're being prudent and culinarily judicious when they cut it up into 10 fillets, wrap them well, and store them in the freezer.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Unfortunately, most fish that's been frozen becomes mealy, spongy, watery, and virtually inedible after it's been frozen at home. Unless it's fresh--in other words, not frozen on the spot by the boat that caught it or the store it was delivered to--odds are that you are buying something that already was frozen once and thawed en route to the market, and now you're freezing it again, which is a Big Food no-no. No matter how you look at it (but especially regarding texture), freezing fish is just not a good idea.

Of course, there are always exceptions to a rule, and here's one: While it's best to use the fish you bring home within 48 hours, there are certain fish dishes that, once cooked, freeze so well that I've taken to making them just because I want something in my freezer that I can take out in a few months' time, defrost, and have for dinner with a little fresh sauce and a glass of wine (all I have to worry about is the sauce and uncorking my wine bottle).

For example, leftover Brandade--a traditional country French dish made by blending soaked salt cod with potatoes, milk, olive oil, and garlic--can be easily transformed into New England-Style Codfish Cakes with Lemon Sauce, which can be lightly pan-fried and then frozen for up to 4 months.

Leftover fresh tuna can be tossed with lime juice, tequila, and jalapenos and reborn as refreshing Tuna Tacos; leftover smoked salmon makes a fine addition to Penne with Vodka, Cream, and Smoked Salmon; all of those stray frozen shrimp you have kicking around in your cold pantry can be used to cook up Spiced Shrimp Boiled in Black Beer, an amazingly fast and easy dish. Later on, you'll also see how Salmon Burgers can easily be made from leftover tamari-spiced salmon fillet.

So if you get a hankering for these treasures from the deep every once in a while, think ahead about how you plan to use them, take advantage of buying them in larger portions, and get to work: The results are delicious.

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Donah Shine

Head Master

Address: 5636 Lemon Ave.
Dallas TX 75209

Phone: +1 214 5203694