Unless you're enjoying a fillet of salmon straight off the boat, high-quality frozen salmon beats "fresh" fish any day. That's because flash-freezing preserves the texture, taste, and freshness of just-caught salmon.
That "fresh" salmon at the store? It's probably previously-frozen fish that's been thawed for display.
Unpacking the Concept of Fresh Fish
If you live near a body of water, your fishmonger may offer never-been-frozen, locally caught seafood. This selection of fish changes, depending on what local fishermen have brought in. Assuming the fish has been been kept on ice, it's at its peak of freshness the day it's been caught.
Beyond that first day though, fish quickly loses its taste and texture. Though it's never been frozen, it's not necessarily what you'd call fresh.
Similarly, the "fresh" salmon you see at the fish counter is probably not what you think it is. If your fishmonger insists that you’re looking at a piece of fresh salmon that has never been frozen, be very skeptical.
Why Grocery Store Salmon Isn't As Fresh as Flash-Frozen Fish
Typically, your local fishmonger can only offer you previously-frozen salmon. Unless that fillet of “fresh” salmon was flown overnight from the fisherman as a special offering — a prohibitively expensive process — it most certainly was frozen when your fishmonger received it, then thawed for display.
Thawed fish may remain thawed until sold, which may take several days, losing quality as each day passes. Alternatively, the fishmonger can refreeze unsold fish, and thaws it again for another day. Refreezing fish in a commercial freezer, though, damages the texture of the fillet and diminishes the quality, too.
The Merits of Frozen Salmon
Flash-freezing a fresh fish shortly after it’s caught is the best way to lock in all the goodness that wild salmon has to offer. Fish is sometimes thawed for processing before being offered to consumers, but as long this is done efficiently — and if the fish is flash-frozen again — its taste, texture, and quality is just as good as fresh-off-the-boat.
Buying flash-frozen salmon from a reputable vendor ensures that the fish has been preserved and processed properly so that you're getting what you've paid for. If you're ready to buy some of the best wild-caught, sustainably harvested salmon on the planet, click here.
High-quality, flash-frozen fish will stay fresh in your freezer until you're ready to enjoy it. From there, familiarize yourself with how to thaw frozen fish the right way to preserve it's quality, then pan-fry the salmon for a simple but perfect meal.
How to Thaw Frozen Fish
Remove your salmon from its vacuum-sealed packaging, then place the fish on a rimmed plate or shallow dish in the fridge for 10-12 hours (or until thawed) before cooking. Want to speed up your thaw? Visit our blog post on thawing to learn how to properly defrost fish faster.
Then, get that fish in a pan and make yourself a clean, delicious, and protein-forward meal. All you need is a hot skillet, a little bit of oil, and a spatula for crispy fisherman-style seared salmon.