When Freshness Really Counts
As any chef or good cook will tell you, one of the keys to cooking success is to start with the freshest ingredients.
And I think there’s nowhere where that’s more important than fresh seafood..
We’ve all taken that stroll through a supermarket reeking of questionable seafood products and bleach, only to find our appetite and enthusiasm taking a dip. Or nosedive. Â No pun intended.
Well worry not, we’ve got you covered! Read on for how to buy fresh fish and where to buy it in the Gulfport, Treasure Island, St Pete Beach and St Petersburg area.
“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
How to Buy Fresh Fish
Step 1: Go to a local and reputable seafood shop. Â See the next section “Where to Buy” below.
Step 2: Ask what the freshest fish is or what the catch of the day is.
Step 3: If you decided to buy anything other than what they tell you is freshest or the catch of the day, make sure what you’re buying isn’t “previously frozen”.
Step 4: Make sure the flesh is firm and shiny. Â It should provide resistance when touched. Don’t go poking it with your uncovered finger, however. I saw one source that said the fish should look as if it might jump up and swim away. If only, the fish is thinking. If only…
Step 5: Sniff it. Yes it’s ok. Â Fish isn’t supposed to smell fishy. It should smell fresh.
Step 6: If the poor creature still has its head intact, check the eyes. Â They should be clear, not cloudy. Â (You know, so he can see better…)
Step 7: Gills if present should be bright pink and wet. No slimeyness. Â Ever.
Step 8: For fillets or steaks, make sure the meat doesn’t separate from itself.Â If it does it isn’t fresh.
Step 9: If the fish still has its skin, make sure the skin is not discolored. Â No brown or yellow edges. Mostly this means even, consistent coloring.
Line ’em up
Where to Buy #1 – Key West Shrimp Company
We get it. Â You’re not in Key West. Â And no, I don’t know why. But I do know that the entire business is a family affair, with their own boats and own stores. Â One shop is located in St Pete Beach and the other in Madeira Beach.
“Most of our fish was swimming less than 24 hours ago.” Says it right on the website. You’d have to fish for it yourself to get it any fresher. Â Like them on Facebook to find out what their specials and fresh catches are.
Read about their dedication to sustainability here. Â And check out products available in their online store here. Â (Fish Spread fans will find some things to love here!)Â You can even ship some home if you’d like.
10 am to 6 pm every day. Â St Pete Beach location is 7217 Gulf Blvd Ste 13 (727) 873-3913. Â Madeira Beach location is 215 150th Ave. (727) 592-1885
Where to Buy #2 – Mid-Peninsula Seafood
Both a restaurant and a full-service fish market. Â Looking for something special? Call them! They just may be able to deliver.
Not sure which fish to buy? Visit their Fish School for tips on cooking and information on origin.
Mid Peninsula Seafood’s restaurant is one of my faves. Soups, sandwiches, dinners and big orders to feed a gang. Â Fish Spread is available and something you don’t see just anywhere – hushpuppies! They call them Cornpuppies!
Find the full menu of prepared foods here.
Follow them on Facebook.
They’re gone fishing on Sundays. Â Just keep that in mind.Â Open Monday – Saturday 11 am – 9 pm.Â 400 49th St S, St Petersburg, FL 33707
Insider Tip: The Seafood Watch App
Download the app for your phone.Â Sustainability at your fingertips!
Gulfport has two outstanding places to buy seafood.Â “Fresh From the Boat“.
Gulf Coast Seafood began by providing products to stores, resorts and restaurants over a large part of Florida. Â In response to repeated requests over the years, they are now selling to the public with their own retail shop!
Fresh fish in display cases. Â Frozen products are vacuum packed). Head on over and catch tonight’s dinner.
Follow them onÂ Facebook.
4921 9th Ave S, Gulfport (727) 321-1068 Â Open from 10 am – 6 pm Monday through Friday. 10 am to 4 pm Saturday
Chances are they have what you fancy
Where to Buy #4 – Don’s Dock & Wild Seafood Market
Don’s Dock has a wonderful fish market in addition to provide bait, ice and other gear you need to go fishing.
You can callÂ 727-391-3223 for the Catch of the Day, see where your sustainably-caught seafood is coming from “Track Your Fish” and more.
Sauce and seasonings available too.Â Online seafood market coming soon.
Check out the photo gallery for sample wares. Â Those babies look ready to go home with you.
Don’s Dock Wild Seafood Market is located at 215 Boardwalk Place E, Madeira Beach, Fl. (727) 391-3223
Insider Tip:Â Sustainable Seafood?
View the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Consumer Guide here.
Recipe Suggestion: Perfect Salmon
Note: This cooking technique can be used on other varieties of fish too. Â Just use your seasoning of choice!
- Salmon filets, not steaks
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Maple Syrup
Spray or rub a small amount of olive oil on the bottom or skin-side of the fish. Â Massage soy sauce into the top of the fish. Â Place the fish skin side down on a small metal tray. Â (Sizzle platters are perfect for this.) Pour a modest amount (approximately 1 T) of maple syrup over the top of the fish and spread it around.
Place the salmon in a COLD oven. Â Now turn the oven on to 400 degrees and set a timer for 25 minutes. Your fish will be moist and flaky and the soy sauce maple syrup on top provides a slight crunch.
Perfect every time
Disposing of Fish Parts – How to be a Good Neighbor!
No matter how fresh that fish is when you get it, eventually it won’t be.Â If you have leftovers (or leftover “parts”), please don’t just toss them (bagged or not) in the trash can and let them marinate until trash day. Please help keep the trash cans clean and smelling the best they can by refrigerating your excess in a plastic bag and tossing out the morning of trash pickup.
For an amazing assortment of delicious seafood recipes