There are few foods which are more finicky than fresh fish and seafood. Anyone who’s watched a season or two of a Gordon Ramsay cooking show should know just how difficult it is to properly cook scallops – it’s not an impossible task though. The problem with most seafood is the water content compared to other meats. I’m going to pass along a little science lesson here in a minute, but trust me when I say it is important knowledge for every chef, and not at all limited to use in a classroom or laboratory setting. It should be obvious too, but it has a lot to do with water.
You see, water is literally the only thing on this planet that actually expands when it gets colder. Everything else (and I mean everything) contracts as it chills, from computer electronics to plate glass, from the gaseous air inside of tires to steel fittings which hold together good knives. Water is the only thing that expands as it gets colder, which is why frostbite is such a serious issue for people braving cold weather. It’s also why frozen meats, especially fish and seafood, just don’t taste as good as fresh cuts. Freezing and thawing alters the taste and texture of many foods, but none more than seafood.
Therefore, the only way to cook good fish is to kill it, clean it and prepare it from fresh sources. Because hauling in the “catch of the day” is really impractical for most restaurants and even home cooks, this might seem impossible. But that’s where aquariums come into the equation. These tanks filled with fish are good for much more than just housing family pets. An aquarium will keep your fish alive and as fresh as possible until you scoop it up, chop it up and make something out of it. Just make sure you have some quality canister filter or other system for keeping the water clean and pure.
That will ensure your fish remains clean and pure, which in turn will provide the best possible taste experience for whoever ends up eating it. Nobody likes fish that tastes like old mud, and that’s exactly what you’ll get if you’re pulling fish from a dirty tank and using them to make food. All that grit and grime ends up in the fish if you don’t remove it from the water, and that affects the taste of said fish, and not in a positive way.
If you plan to cook with fish then, for the best possible fish, use meat which was only recently slaughtered and cleaned when preparing your dishes. Because this isn’t practical for people with small aquariums, you’ll need a larger tank if you want to handle your fish in this manner. For that, you’ll need adequate filtration to keep the water clean and the meat pure. You can read more about that at http://canisterfilterguide.com/ if the mood takes you. Otherwise, just think of it like keeping pet fish – pet fish you will eventually eat. Take good care of them and they will take good care of you.