What is the most common mistake people make when cooking their own seafood at home?
Some people are intimidated by the idea of cooking fish at home. They shouldn't be. The most common mistake with cooking fish at home (and, unfortunately in some restaurants) is overcooking. Most saltwater fish is best when cooked medium rare to medium. But even cooked all the way through it should still retain some moisture. I think over-cooking is what turns a lot of people off to seafood. If you've only experienced dry, over-cooked fish or shellfish, you are not getting the best seafood experience.
Memphis is pretty land-locked, compared to cities like New Orleans and Boston. What are some seafood buying tips you can offer to Memphians looking to eat more seafood?
"Where is the best place to buy fresh seafood in Memphis?" I get this question all the time. The answer is simple. Get to know your fishmonger. Most major supermarkets now have a full-time fish buyer/handler on staff. Find out who this person is and start a dialog with him or her. Sure, Memphis is a landlocked city, but we have the advantage of being the home of FedEx. I can talk to one of my seafood brokers in Honolulu (or Atlanta or Boston) on a Monday about what is coming in on the boats and have it in my kitchen by Wednesday morning, if not sooner. Your friendly neighborhood fishmonger can tell you what's fresh and what is in season. And yes, seafood is seasonal, like anything else. Since seafood is highly perishable, it has to be utilized quickly. Most supermarkets stick to the seafood items that are most popular to guarantee that they will sell it quickly. Another advantage of having a good working relationship with your fishmonger is that he or she will often be willing to order specialty items for you.
Numerous studies have shown that including more seafood in your diet is an important step to a more heart healthy diet. Removing the stigma of seafood cookery is something I have been attempting to do for nearly 17 years at Tsunami. Memphis has proven itself to be a city that loves seafood. The next step is for people to start cooking more seafood at home. Because, as much as I'd like it, you can't eat at Tsunami every night.
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