Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is That Fish Fresh?

The fish in the picture was taken at the Athens Central Market in Greece and shows small tsipouris, gilt-head bream, aligned on ice for the customer. They are bent from rigor mortis, demonstrating in that fact a superior freshness. In most of America today fish is not sold whole let alone fresh. Fish tends to be sold already filleted and skinned and there is no way for anyone to tell if a fillet is fresh. It's barely possible to tell if a whole fish is fresh if sodium benzoate has been used to preserve the fish. The best way to tell if fish is of high quality is based on repeated purchases from a respected fishmonger. Taste will always tell the truth. The highest quality fish will usually be sold to high quality fish restaurants, next to other restaurants, then to high quality fishmongers, then to other fishmongers, and finally the lowest quality fish will be sold to supermarket fish departments with a few exceptions such as Whole Foods markets.

[Photo: Clifford A. Wright]


  1. Great photo, most people do not know how to tell if their fish is fresh as you stated...wondering if you saw my comment on the gazpacho post? Thanks...

  2. I missed your gazpacho comment. Don't know why you haven't had an authentic gazpacho. If someone is making a soup with pureed asparagus and they call it gazpacho, it isn't; no more than a hamburger is a hot dog. Spain is a big country so it's difficult to recommend restaurants. Are you going to particular cities?