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  Gone Fishing  Fish Cuisine

Freezing Fish

Believe it or not, freezing fish can actually damage the meat. Domestic freezing simply does not act fast enough to prevent large ice crystals forming in the flesh of a fish. The jagged crystals puncture the delicate tissues, resulting in the loss of texture, juices and flavour.

There is a way to preserve a degree of quality using domestic freezing and this is called glazing. First clean and gut the fish in the normal way, then place it, unwrapped, in a freezer. When the fish is reasonably solid, dip into cold fresh water. A thin film of ice should instantly form. Return it to the freezer immediately and when the ice has set solid, repeat the process 2-3 times until the fish is encased completely in a good coating of ice. Then store it in a freezer bag in the usual way.

Fish that best withstand the freezing process are those with fine grained flesh. The shorter the time any fish remains frozen, the better it will be. Whole fish should be defrosted completely before cooking. If cooked from a frozen state, the outside is overcooked before the inside has had time to thaw out, which is less than ideal.

Another method which I use and is quick to prepare with little degradation to the meat, is to pat the fillets dry with a paper towel, place several fillets into a freezer bag, then suck the air out of the bag so that the freezer bag actually envelopes the contours of the fillets and place immediately into a freezer. I then usually defrost the fish overnight in the fridge compartment, ready for the next day's tea.

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