How to Thaw Frozen Fish

If you want your fish to taste as fresh and delicious as possible at the dinner table, then keep in mind that it all begins long before you start cooking. In fact, the process begins right after you land your fish by properly dispatching it and then bleeding it out. I made a recent video about these topics, but along with ethically killing your fish, bleeding it out, and then properly packaging and freezing it, how you thaw out your fish before preparing it is another important step that can greatly affect the quality of your meal. In this blog and video, I’ll share with you the best ways to thaw out your fish, as well as cover what not to do.

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Thawing Suggestions

When the time has come to remove your fish from the freezer and get it ready for the dinner table, the first step is to properly thaw it out. Now if you’re not in a big hurry, you can simply place your fish packages in the refrigerator and thaw them out overnight. Just be sure to place the fish on a big plate or some other container to catch the water as the ice thaws. If you don’t want to wait that long, a faster method is to put the packaged fish in the sink and run cool water over it for as long as it takes to thaw it out, which is usually 10 to 20 minutes depending on quantity and thickness of your fish. This method may increase your water bill if you do it often, but most chefs prefer this faster method for optimal flavor retention, as thawing in the refrigerator for many hours can sometimes dry the fish out.

What NOT to do!

It’s not recommended to thaw out your fish by leaving it out in the open, in room temperature air. Doing so can result in rapid bacteria growth and a not-so-fresh flavor. Finally, and most importantly, don’t try to thaw out your fish by running warm or especially hot water over it in the sink, or, letting it simply soak in warm or hot water. Yes, it will get the job done fast, and lots of people do this, but doing so will also slightly begin the cooking process, which will prematurely leach the oil and vital juices out of your fish, it will give it a strong “fishy” smell, it’ll ruin the texture, and ultimately produce a dry, not-so-great tasting finished product. So don’t get in too big a hurry with the critical step of properly thawing your fish. Take the time to do it right. You and your dinner guests will be happy you did!

Check out the video below to see more…