Fish is a tasty and nutritious staple in many people’s diets, and with good reason. FIsh is extremely versatile and easy to cook, and it is also packed full of nutrients.
Oily fish, in particular, are noted for their high amounts of Omega 3 which have benefits throughout the body, including heart health, brain health and joint health.
However, it is very easy to find one type of fish that you like and buy that week in and week out. You know you like it, you know how to cook it, so why change? Well there are many other types of seafood out there, and with concerns about certain types of seafood being overfished,
Let’s have a look at some different types of seafood you could experiment with.
Examples of shellfish are Mussels and Oysters. It is best to buy these from a fishmonger if you can, that way you can ask them for the freshest ones, rather than stock that has been on the shelves for several days.
When you are buying any type of shellfish, it is always important to check the position of the shells. The shells must be tightly closed. If they are open, the mollusc is probably dead, and this must not be eaten otherwise you and your dinner guests could end up with a severe case of food poisoning.
Once you have purchased your shellfish, they are best eaten either that day or the following, they do not keep well for any length of time. If you do need to store them, keep them in the fridge, in a bowl filled with ice. Your fishmonger may put them in a plastic bag for you for transport home, but if they are kept in this they will quickly suffocate and will be unusable.
Shellfish can be cooked in a variety of different ways, from boiling, grilling and baking. They will require some preparation, such as cleaning and shucking, but this is fairly easy to do. Shellfish also make a great addition to a soup or chowder.
Shrimp is another delicious seafood, and can be eaten in many different ways.
Shrimp is normally purchased frozen. This is because shrimp does not last long fresh, and so it is frozen soon after being caught to preserve its freshness. So, whilst the thawed shrimp on the fish counter may look better initially, it’s actually better to buy it frozen and thaw at home when you are ready to use it.
Shrimp is very easy to defrost, and many people will leave them in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight. If you need them quicker than that, place them in a sieve in a sink and run cold water over them, and they will generally unfreeze in about 5 minutes or so.
Depending on how you buy your shrimp, you may need to remove the head, legs and shell, and you will also need to devein them.
Once this is done, you are ready to cook them. A very popular dish is a shrimp boil, such as this one, https://www.corriecooks.com/instant-pot-shrimp-boil/. Shrimp are particularly tasty in a stir fry, or mixed with rice.
Squid is a popular choice in restaurants, but is not something that is commonly cooked at home, people get a little scared by the complexity of cooking squid, and avoid it.
However, it is very possible to cook this at home. Preparing it sounds a little involved, the tentacles, beak, quill and wings all need to be removed, and then cleaned before cooking, however there are many videos online which will walk you through what you need to do.
If you are cooking calamari, this is cooked very quickly which helps to keep the meat tender. Squid also cooks very well in a slow cooker, or a longer cook in a soup, stew or curry, as the long, low cook will ensure the squid is tender to eat, and not the chewy, tough texture we often associate with badly cooked squid,
Eel have fallen out of favour in recent years. In times gone by they used to be a very common dish, and was a very cheap fish to buy. However, Eel populations have dropped and therefore the price has risen greatly, meaning this fish is kept for special occasions.
Eels need to be skinned, cleaned and preferably filleted before cooking them. This is not an easy task to undertake, and is best performed by your trusted fishmonger.
Once you have your eel, you can either roast it whole, or cut it into large chunks and pan fry them, or add them to a fishy dish like a stew or a pie.
Lobster is often seen as an expensive treat at a restaurant, and it is a little bit more expensive to purchase, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy this amazing seafood at home too.
Lobster used to be cooked alive in boiling water, however this has been made illegal in many countries now due to the ethics of putting a living creature straight into boiling water.
Your fishmonger will be able to humanely slaughter the lobster when you buy it but you must cook it as soon as possible so that it does not perish.
Lobster can be boiled or steamed, and there are several different ways to prepare and eat them.
We have just touched on a few of the varieties of seafood available other than fish, and as you can see there are many other options to explore.
By far the best thing you can do is to talk to your local fishmonger, who can recommend options that you haven’t tried before, and they may occasionally have stock in that only comes once in a while, so they can alert you when they have something new for you to try.
Seafood is very tasty, and very good for us, but with overfishing and the decline of stocks of some fish, it is our responsibility as consumers to be aware of what we’re eating.