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TAFE BUDS: How to find the freshest seafood

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

TAFE BUDS: How to find the freshest seafood

FRESH IS BEST: TAFE NSW cooking expert Sara Morley and Gemma Piali from ABC Riverina discuss how to find the freshest seafood.

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man how to find a fresh fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime (with apologies for the mangled proverb).

With just 10 weeks until Christmas, what better time to discuss the art of selecting the most sumptuous seafood.

And while she might live nearly 400km inland, TAFE NSW cooking guru Sara Morley sure knows how to find the freshest denizens of the deep.

Speaking with Gemma Piali on her popular weekly TAFE Buds segment on ABC Riverina, Sara said there were a few signature signs customers should look for.

“It’s very hard to know when you see it at the supermarket or butcher how long it’s been out of the water for,” Sara said.

“The easiest go-to method is to smell it; fresh fish actually smells fresh, it gives off a pleasant smell and a saltwater fish smells like the ocean.

“As it deteriorates, it starts to get a more ‘bleachy’ smell to it.”

She said examining the fish’s eyes, gills and scales was also a helpful indicator of freshness.

“You want the eyes to be clear and bulging out, not sunken,” Sara said.

“You want to see the scales all intact and sitting up nicely and you want the gills to be bright red.

“The fish should also be quite firm to the touch.”

Vendors with high seafood turnover were a smart bet for freshness, she said.

Meanwhile, fresh prawns should have firm flesh and smell salty and almost sweet, according to Sara.

“You don’t want to see black spots or darker colouration around their insides,” she said. “The peel should be firm, clear and fresh.”

And how does Sara best accompany a feed of prawns? With a homemade cocktail sauce – lemon juice, tomato sauce, cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire and a generous smattering of salt and pepper.

If you’d like to sharpen your kitchen skills or consider a career in cooking, there are a smorgasbord of courses available at TAFE NSW. For more information, visit