Seafood Basics

We will cover 4 areas relating to seafood. Get more info by clicking the links as you

go through "Seafood".

1. Classifications of Fish

2.6 forms of purchasing fish

3. What to look for when purchasing fish

4. Storage

Note from the chef:

Oh the rich bounty from the sea, bluefish caught and grilled up or striped

bass freshly drawn and cooked over an open fire next to the rolling waves

and the hush of the tide as it ripples on the shore. Well if you don't fish you

may not be able to imagine this, but you could share the thoughts of a

tender flaky fresh piece of fish. That is the key to the best fish, freshness.

Although frozen fish has made giant leaps from years past, there is no

substitute for fresh fish. That is the key, freshness and being able to

identify it.


3 classifications of fish (Click on the classifications to find out more)


1.Fin Fish all fish having fins and gills of which there are two types.

Round Fish – ex. haddock, cod, red snapper

Flat fish – ex. flounder, sole


2. Crustaceans have a hard outer shell which they shed in order to grow.

ex. Lobster, Crabs  

3. Mollusks one of two types 

Bivalve - having two shells, two valves. Ex. clams, oysters.

Univalve - one shell, one valve. snail, sea urchin, squid.


6 different forms of purchasing fish


1. Fillets – most common form purchased, these are actually sides of the

fish.Someone else has gutted it, boned it, and most often

removed the skin.


2. Steaks – This is a vertical cut of a dressed fish. Good for grilling.  Has some bone

structure and skin.

3. Dressed – head, tail, and fins removed and gutted on eviscerated.  This has the

bone structure in tact, with an open cavity.

4. Drawn – here only the stomach cavity and internal structure is removed.  The

head, fins, and tail are in tact.


5. Whole – This is completely in tact.  You should at least dress this fish before

storing it.


6. Processed – smoked, breaded, fish sticks, sea legs.


What to look for when purchasing:      

salmonfiletFin Fish

1.    Fillets or Steaks – Should shine, be

slightly firm, should not have an odor. 

Should have slightly sweet or neutral

odor, should not have an ammoniated




2.    Whole or Drawn –

a. gills should be red or pink

b. the eyes should be

clear and bulging

c. scales should shine and

remain in tact

d. texture of flesh should be

springy, not mushy or tearing

e. odor no strong odor,

should smell sweet







Look for liveliness, should be alive, (sleeper –

almost dead) Female cannot be bearing eggs on the

underside of tail.















If the shells are open, tap them and

they should close.  You don’t want

to buy cracked shells









Temperatures:   Ideal Temperature would be

Fin Fish        33 -36 degrees f.

                                                    Crustaceans and Mollusks  36 – 40 degrees f.

1. If you have crushed ice available place your fish in a pan that can


2. Put saran, and then put a piece of paper bag over your fish. 

Allow drainage.

3. Cover with crushed ice. 

4. This will extend the life of your fish. 

5. Do not do this with Crustaceans or mollusks.