Aside from the many small bones, a common complaint for people who dislike eating fish is that it smells fishy. If you live in a coastal town, take a stroll through the fish market toward closing time and you will be hit by various degrees of an undeniable odor, associated with rot and an unmistakable fishiness.
This scent is attributed to something called trimethylamine or TMA, a gas that is created when bacteria interact with certain compounds in fish. When raw fish is kept at warm temperatures for too long, it develops more and more TMA — a stinky indicator of its freshness level. In other words, fresh fish should not smell fishy.
This is not to say fish does not have an inherent scent. Like many things from the sea, fresh fish will and should smell briny, like fresh ocean spray. If you are lucky enough to live nearby, fish can be purchased fresh within hours of being caught, bringing with it the salty smell of the sea.
More Tips For Fresh Fish
However, if you are like many folks who live far from the coast or in regions that are distant from the natural habitat of your preferred fish, frozen fish is a good bet for freshness. Frozen fish was once not considered to be fresh, but in many instances, this perception was due to the fact that it was already poor quality at the point of freezing. These days, larger commercial fishing operations freeze their catch soon after harvest, preserving its freshness for longer so that it can be transported safely. If you live inland and are trying to eat as locally as possible, choose fish from the coast closest to you.While a non-smelly fish is a reliable yardstick for freshness, there are other signs you can check as well. Bright and clear eyes (i.e. not cloudy) and bright red gills are the best visual cues to guide your decision. Texturally, the skin should be slippery and smooth, with intact scales and firm flesh. Avoid anything that has become slimy!
Cooking Tips For Those With Sensitive Noses
Even if you have access to the freshest fish available, you may be one of the rare few with a particularly sensitive sense of smell. If this is the case yet you still want to prepare fish, there are additional tips to help ensure that the smell is more tolerable.
First of all, rinsing the fish with water will greatly help in reducing the smell as much of the TMA will be washed off. Pat it dry and continue with your cooking prep as usual. In a similar vein, it is common to serve fish with a lemon wedge or a splash of vinegar, as acid helps remove the TMA as well.
Certain varieties of fish, especially oily ones, naturally have higher quantities of compounds that convert to TMA. Soaking raw fish in milk will help reduce the smell, as the proteins bind with the compounds and carry them away. You can also add even more oil to combat the strong odor and flavor of fish like sardines, as it will help limit the exposure to air and bacteria.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.