When you think of enjoying delicious seafood fresh from the ocean, coastal retreats in Florida, the Caribbean or along the shore in the Pacific Northwest might come to mind. However, with modern transportation, diners in Plano can enjoy seafood served within hours of being reeled in.

“We receive shipments daily from suppliers on both the Pacific and the Atlantic,” notes Rick Oruch, owner and fishmonger at Plano’s Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill in Plano’s LakeSide Market. “People are amazed to find that we regularly have over a dozen types of fresh seafood, as well as amazing shrimp from the Texas gulf coast, lobster from Maine and more.”

And for fishmongers like Oruch, the coming month marks one of the busiest times of the year. During the Lenten season, that began this past Wednesday, February 10 and continues until Easter on March 27, seafood consumption increases markedly. Additionally, once March rolls around, Sea Breeze begins receiving wild salmon and halibut that mark some of the busiest season for commercial fishing.

While doctors have long recommended adding seafood to your diet at least three times a week, home cooks are often intimidated when cooking fresh fish. “It’s a real shame,” notes Oruch, “because fish is one of the easiest and quickest proteins to prepare at home. You can go from pan to table in less than 10 minutes.”

Oruch and his team not only share recipes and tips with guests who shop at the market, but they offer cooking classes twice a month to teach new recipes and techniques. “Our chefs create amazing recipes that are easy for home cooks to replicate,” explains Oruch. “We try to teach three to four of those recipes at each one of our classes.”

Oruch encourages home cooks to experiment with fresh seafood at home. When home cooks are looking for the freshest seafood, the expert offers three very simple words of advice, “Your nose knows.”

Your nose knows

With decades of experience in bringing fresh seafood to Texas, Oruch often educates local cooks on how to source, purchase, store and cook their fresh fish. His advice is simple:

  1. Know who you are buying from. In decades past, our families knew their butcher, their fishmonger and their grocer better. Those experts became a source to know what was fresh, what was coming in and when to purchase it.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take a smell test. Fresh fish shouldn’t stink. In fact, other than a clean, ocean scent, most fish should have no aroma at all. If the professional at your seafood counter won’t let you smell the fish before you buy it, it’s a red flag that should concern consumers.
  3. When possible, it’s always best to purchase fresh fish. You don’t know how long following being caught a fish was frozen or the method with which it was handled.
  4. Make sure to store your fish properly. When we sell fish from the fish market, we always send the consumer home with a small bag of ice. Many people think that is to protect the seafood on the drive home. However, we provide that to put on top of the fish once it is in your refrigerator at home. The average home refrigerator is about 45–50 degrees. Seafood is best stored at 34 degrees.
  5. The only way to adequately create those conditions is to put ice on the fish in the refrigerator.
    Consume your fish as soon as possible. We recommend that people cook their fish within 24 hours of purchasing it. However, when stored properly in the refrigerator, the fish will safely last up to three days.
  6. Whether they are looking to create a simple oven-baked salmon or throw a little shrimp on the barbie for a warm afternoon, Oruch encourages all home cooks to dive on in and try creating a healthy and easy seafood meal at home.

Rebecca Silvestri

Rebecca Silvestri is the vice president of Sales & Marketing. She is also the wife of Philip Silvestri, publisher of Local Profile. In a previous life, Rebecca was a math teacher in London and the...