Fish Basics

Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About
Learn to spot truly fresh fish in the market and you’ll be rewarded. Rely on your eyes and nose, and choose your fish source as carefully as you would your doctor. Purchase fish displayed on ice in a refrigerated case. The flesh of fillets, steaks, and other cuts should be translucent, firm but springy to the touch, unblemished, without discoloration around the edges, and with no tears. The smell should be reminiscent of the sea or briny. If the odor is fishy or ammonia-like, it’s a sure sign that it’s over the hill. And don’t hesitate to ask to take a sniff—if the fish merchant is reputable, he certainly shouldn’t mind.