Fish School

We get a lot of questions here at Legal Sea Foods Marketplace, and we're always happy to dispense a little "Legal" advice, spawn some fish facts, and share our expertise on all things seafood - from Oysters to Omega 3's.
 
  • Cod

    New Englanders value their cod: for centuries it was one of our region's most plentiful fish. Cod was so important to the Massachusetts economy that back in 1784, a carved wooden statue of the "sacred cod" was hung at the state house. Cod has a white flesh, delicate flavor, and a tender, somewhat flaky texture. It can be cooked just about any way. The cod family encompasses more than fifty species of fish, which include haddock and pollock. Cod can grow to more than 200 pounds, but the average size is less than 25 pounds. (Small cod or other whitefish that weigh between 1 ½ and 2 ½ pounds are marketed as scrod.) From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Haddock

    Haddock and cod formed the basis for Legal Sea Foods' acclaim. True Bostonians really love their haddock. It is a magnificent fish and is deservedly popular because it has a mild, pleasant flavor, a beautiful white color, and a medium-firm texture. Try haddock grilled, baked, and fried. All ways are equally good, but one of our perennial favorites is broiled haddock with a crumb butter topping. But there's nothing like fish and chips made with haddock. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Lobsters

    Lobsters are the prime delicacy of the shellfish family. Next time you eat one, consider the number of years it spent growing large enough for you to enjoy. It takes five to eight years for a lobster to grow to one pound in weight. Most people prefer lobsters that weigh between 1 ½ to 2 pounds. A live lobster is blue-black in color and only becomes red when cooked. Look for hard-shell lobsters only. Often when lobsters are unusually inexpensive, it's because they're shedding, and the shells will be soft. Soft-shell lobsters have less meat - and the flesh isn't as firm. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Mussels

    When you've savored a batch of freshly harvested mussels, you've experienced the salty taste of the sea overlaid with a touch of sweetness. Mussels' delicate flavor is best appreciated when they are prepared simply. Steamed mussels are the most popular choice and mussels au gratin is one of our favorites, but mussels are also an excellent ingredient in seafood pastas and cold shellfish salads. Surprisingly, although mussels have a sweet delicate taste, they hold their own when juxtaposed with strong seasonings. The fact that mussels are flavorful and cook in minutes is a boon to any cook. But mussels are exceptionally healthful. They have one-third more protein than oysters, contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in shellfish, and because their diet is phytoplanktons, rather than other fish, they are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Oysters

    A good oyster has a fresh briny flavor. The size and taste of oysters vary upon the location in which they grow. We're partial to oysters from the east coast and especially the Wellfleet from Cape Cod, one of the best-tasting oysters in the world! For centuries, people have eaten oysters as an aphrodisiac. Like other folklore, it has a basis in fact. New England oysters have an unusually high content of zinc, an element that affects energy and sexual potency, among other things. We like the adage, "Eat fish, live longer. Eat oysters, love longer." Removing oysters from their shells (shucking) is not difficult, but it does take practice. As you might expect, the fresher the oyster, the more difficult it is to open. One trick that works is to heat the oysters in a microwave for a few seconds, just long enough to heat their shells. Or you could place the oysters in the freezer for about 5 minutes, which also lulls them into relaxing their muscles. Using a basic oyster knife is the best way to shuck oysters. And you should always protect your hands with rubber or cloth kitchen gloves because it's easy for the oyster knife to slip or for you to cut yourself on the shell. You can shuck oysters two ways. The fastest way is to hold the oyster in one hand and open it with the other, but that takes practice. If you're a beginner, learn using a towel. Shield your hand with a kitchen towel, grasp the oyster so the curved part of its shell is facing towards the palm of your hand, and hold it down on the kitchen counter. (The towel will keep the oyster from slipping.) To find the seam, look at the back of the oyster where the hinge is. Insert the knife in the hinge and wriggle the knife back and forth, prying up the shell to separate the top from the bottom shell. If you're successful, the oyster shell will open a crack and you will be able to finish the process using your hand. Be sure to always hold the oyster level so that you don't lose its liquid. Next, run the knife along the top shell to release the oyster into the bottom half of the shell. Pull off the top shell and discard it. Release the oyster flesh with the knife. Raw oysters, served on the half shell with cocktail or hot sauce and a lemon wedge, is the most popular preparation. We also find that Green Tabasco is a sensational accompaniment because its pickled, hot flavor brings out the oysters' briny taste. If you prefer your oysters cooked, try scalloping, stuffing, or braising them in a stew. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Salmon

    Salmon is one of our most versatile fish, adapting well to any cooking method (even steaming, poaching, or grilling) because of its high fat content, which also makes it a forgiving choice for inexperienced cooks because it stays moist even when overcooked. In addition to their distinctive flavor, both wild and farmed salmon are good sources of protein; omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, B, D, E; potassium; iodine; and selenium. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Scallops

    Scallops have a wonderful characteristic. Cooked for just a moment, scallops always stay tender. (Unfortunately, when they're overcooked, they become rubbery.) Their tenderness is surprising, because in America we only eat the muscle. (Europeans savor the roe, which is discarded here.) The muscle becomes disproportionately large because of the way scallops travel through the water, moving their shells together, expelling a jet of water. One caution: many purveyors soak shucked scallops in water or a phosphate solution. This increases volume by almost a third and whitens the flesh but diminishes the flavor. In essence, you will be paying for water-weight and getting scallops that can have a residual bitter taste. At Legal, our scallops are dry and free of preservatives. They are pure and unadulterated, with a sweet and natural taste. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Shrimp

    Shrimp are probably the most popular shellfish in America. People who don't touch any other form of seafood will devour shrimp. They're delicious, it's true, but part of the reason they're so popular is that they're so consistently available - and so familiar. Virtually no matter where you go, you can find shrimp on the menu. (Shrimp inhabit all the oceans of the world.) But the majority of shrimp you find at restaurants and at the markets are not ocean shrimp. They're most likely farm-raised in freshwater ponds in countries such as Thailand, which is now the leading producer of farm-raised shrimp. Many of the tiger shrimp served in America originate there. Farmed shrimp are uniform in size, consistent in quality and flavor, and are available year-round. Shrimp are graded by the average number of shrimp per pound. The larger the shrimp, the higher the price. The most expensive shrimp are "jumbo," no more than ten per pound. Average-sized shrimp are about fifteen to twenty per pound, and smaller shrimp, twenty-one to twenty-five. Shrimp continue to be graded in size as they get smaller, but most retail shops don't stock the smaller-sized shrimp, often sold to restaurants as "popcorn" shrimp. Shrimp are extremely versatile. Most Americans' favorite shrimp dish is still the shrimp cocktail, although shrimp is served every which way - steamed, broiled, fried, sautéed, in pasta dishes, and with rice. The simple shrimp dish we developed years ago, the Jasmine Special , is one of our most requested recipes. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Swordfish

    Swordfish is usually cut into steaks, which is the easiest way to deal with this fish, which can weigh between 200 and 600 pounds. Swordfish steaks are recognizable by the whorls (a pattern in the flesh that resembles the rings on a cross section of a tree). Many fish taste delicious grilled, but swordfish tastes best because the grilling process accentuates its unique flavor. The flesh is dense and reddish-colored, turning almost beige when it is cooked. It's a versatile fish. It's most often grilled as steaks and kabobs, but it's also tasty sautéed or baked. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Tuna

    Tuna is a member of the same fish family as mackerel, which means that it is dark-fleshed and oily, but it has a firmer-textured flesh. Sometimes fresh tuna can be almost too lean, so it benefits from an oil marinade, or brushing with oil before cooking. Although bluefin is the most prevalent tuna offered for sale in America, we prefer to offer yellowfin because it has a superior flavor and texture. Its flesh should be reddish in color. When the fish is cooked, the flesh turns brown, so tuna is often served with a colorful vegetable or salad. Also, tuna's dense flesh means that a small amount goes far. Try tuna grilled, broiled, or baked. Leftover tuna is delicious flaked or sliced up in main-course salads. A citrus dressing lightens the flavor. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • Fish and Health

    Eating fish at least twice a week contributes greatly to your health. It's as simple as that. Whether it's the zinc in shellfish , the omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish such as salmon, or the lower fat profile of many other fish, it is apparent that eating fish is essential to a healthy lifestyle. You feel good when you eat fish because it is so easy to digest. It contains a smaller amount of connective tissue than meat and short, rather than long, fibers. The connective tissue of fish breaks down at a relatively low temperature, becoming flaky and easily digested. In addition, fish has little fat. Haddock, for example, has less than 1 percent fat. Fish fat is mainly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. (Saturated fats, such as those found in meat, cause the cholesterol levels in blood to rise.) But the big reason to eat fish is their high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can't make omega-3. You can only obtain it from food, such as fish, flaxseed, walnuts, and some forms of soy. Consider the list of ailments that omega-3 is reputed to help: autoimmune problems, such as lupus an rheumatoid arthritis; heart disease; high blood pressure; blood clots; and breast cancer. Researchers are constantly coming up with new possibilities that link a fish (and vegetable) diet to better health. From the " Legal Sea Foods Cookbook " by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, illustrated by Edward Koren
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  • What is Nitro-Fresh™?

    For those who value convenience just as much as quality when it comes to seafood, we introduce NITRO-FRESH™. This industry-leading process ensures that the taste, texture and moisture content of the seafood remains absolutely intact. Now you can enjoy your favorite seafood dishes at home whenever you want them, in minutes. Freezing with liquid nitrogen is an industry-leading process that allows us to freeze seafood in mere minutes, enabling us to lock in the flavor, moisture, quality, texture, and color. Because we freeze seafood at its peak of freshness, the seafood never degrades (e.g. by sitting in the refrigerator before preparation). NITRO-FRESH™ is perfect for those who value convenience just as much as quality. Everything is packaged in single servings, allowing for maximum flexibility (no need to plan dinners in advance). These items go from freezer to oven (no need to thaw), making dinner preparation as convenient as possible. Check out some of our NITRO-FRESH™ favorites!
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