Fish: Is Fresh Fresh? Is Frozen Better? Is It Even Healthy?!

SeafoodSome folks eat fish because they love it, not just because its healthy. Other folks don’t much like it, but figure they better get their Omega 3’s. Note: If you are into fish for health reasons, look for wild caught, especially salmon- it’s loaded with the oils you need. (Read this article or this one, on why wild is so much better than farmed- quite convincing!)

And still other folks hate fish. But maybe it’s because they’ve never had fresh fish. That can make all the difference.

From a  culinary standpoint, you really can use frozen fish on certain occasions, for various reasons.

  • 1. Frozen fish is way fresher than “fresh” fish that hung out too long
  • 2. Frozen fish is so convenient to make into a meal when the fridge is bare
  • 3. Many frozen varieties taste close enough to fresh, in the right dishes

However, a recent purchase confirmed my other suspicion: That fresh fish from a reputable source is better than anything. I had worked up a recipe for Baked Tuna (posted here), and it works quite well with the frozen tuna steaks I pick up at Trader Joe’s. Meaning, it’s tender enough, and pretty tasty in general.

But then I picked up some “Sear-Grade” tuna from a local specialty shop (“Berkeley Bowl”, to be exact). Wow. There IS a difference. I had bought fresh tuna steaks from another shop before, and they had seemed just a little better than frozen. But the “sear-grade” was what I’d been looking for. It was more like the stuff I eat on special occasions at fancy restaurants. In such establishments, they typically sear the tuna; it’s often “encrusted” with something exotic, like ground black sesame seeds and Wasabi powder, etc. The restaurant entree is always insanely tender and delicious, even cooked rare.

I can now officially tell you: Maybe you DO get what you pay for. The “sear-grade” tuna costs a bit more than other options (except “sashimi-grade”, which is an even better grade). But it is a special treat.

If the pocket book says no, or the convenience factor of Trader Joe’s frozen tuna steaks is too high, stick with a simple baked fish recipe. But if you can afford the treat, go for “sear grade”!

“Mark’s Daily Apple” has a great post here on making healthy fish choices (concerning sustainability and toxins)


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