Many of us that live in the Northeast love our Wegmans Supermarket. When I can find time during the week in the morning hours - the store is relatively quiet and I enjoy seeing what new farm fresh items are in. No secret that I will do my fare share of tasting the cheese and bakery area as well. On this day, I was shopping for fresh fish. Normally, I do not buy seafood at a supermarket. I prefer buying from my fish monger or local fish market, however I know Wegmans turns over inventory quick and fresh seafood is always being iced down.
For those who do regularly buy seafood at your local supermarket, here are my top 3 seafood secrets you should know before purchasing.
1. Stear away from seasoned fish
Have you found yourself eying up that Cajun-spiced Salmon or Lemon Pepper Parmesan Tilapia in the seafood department cooler case? They're usually considerably more expensive than the 'plain' variety for the few cents worth of seasoning and the questionable convenience you get for your money. Fish and seafood do not need to be marinated longer than 20 minutes anyway, so do the seasoning yourself and save. Also, some unscrupulous vendors use heavy seasoning to cover up seafood that's not fresh enough to sell otherwise.
2. Fresh or Frozen?
Supermarket seafood counters can be a source of excellent products and first-rate advice. The following tips can help when choosing fresh fish and seafood. Fresh is always better, right? That's a perfectly reasonable assumption, but in some cases it may not be true. Fish and seafood are very perishable, and choosing local species over those that come from far away is the best starting point. Convenience can also cost more than you think. It may be that the 'fresh' fillets on ice in the seafood case are actually the very same fillets available a step or two away in the freezer case; they've just been defrosted for your 'convenience' -- and marked up for the store's profit. The same goes for the shrink-wrapped packages, too. There's nothing wrong with the practice if the product is labeled as "Previously Frozen", but it's not always done.
3. Discounts Are Not Always A Bargain
It pays to cruise past the seafood counter of your regular supermarket even if you're not planning to buy anything. That way you'll have a general idea of what's available and in season. You'll also be able to tell when a cheap price is a good deal or not, since you'll know with fair certainty that this week's 'fresh' $2.99lb salmon is probably last week's unsold $5.99lb salmon -- just older.
Pan seared snapper with risotto, root vegetables and a parmesan crisp