Cam Matthews, head chef at Spicers Clovelly Estate brings you his top tips for picking the freshest seafood this festive season:
1. The eyes should be bright, clear, and convex, never cloudy or sunken.
2. If the fish has any noticeable odor, it should smell briny and of the sea, like seaweed. Anything noticeably pungent, “fishy,” or similar to the scent of a beach at low tide should be avoided, as this indicates decay, and the off-putting aroma will only be intensified by cooking.
3. One of the best indicators of freshness are the gills: they should be bright red, not dark maroon and sticky
4. Skin ought to be taut, clean, and glistening, almost as if the fish were still alive. Skin colour is not necessarily indicative of the fish’s state of decay, as with many varieties the color will fade almost immediately after death.
5. The belly should be taut, not swollen or sunken. A distended or shriveled belly indicates that the digestive enzymes from the fish’s gut have broken down and essentially digested some of the flesh.
6. Check the fins, they should not be dry or split if the fish is fresh and handled well.