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All about Round Fish
Comprising a host of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, fish offers a heart-healthy source of protein, and is considered as one of nature’s healthiest foods.
The importance of having fish in one’s diet cannot be understated. Touted as one of the healthiest food around, the health benefits of eating fish are plentiful. For starters, it is good for the heart and brain as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This means reduced risks of heart attacks, strokes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Eating fish has also been proven to lift one’s mood and improve sleep quality, so you can become a happier person just by having a regular intake of fish.
Oftentimes, we see capsules of cod fish oil sold in bottles at nutrition companies. Indeed, cod livers are processed to make these health products, as it an good source of vitamin A, D, E and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, cod contains a variety of important nutrients beneficial for the heart. A form of whitefish, cod has a mild flavour and a dense, flaky white flesh. With its versatile taste, the fish can be easily adaptable to all methods of cooking including braised, poached, steamed, baked, fried, and even using it in a broth.
Unlike most fish, the most unique quality of tuna is probably its pink to dark red flesh which is velvety smooth, soft and delicate. It contains little to no fishy odour, and has a somewhat meaty taste instead. Fresh tuna is typically enjoyed raw. In Japanese restaurants, the fatty tuna belly (otoro) is considered one of the most highly prized ingredients due to its creamy flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Canned versions of cooked tuna are also available, and it often comes shredded as flakes perfect for spreading on toast. If purchasing tuna as steak, take note as it dries out relatively quickly. Marinate before cooking or simmer it in a sauce, and cook it briefly over a high heat.
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is well known as a superfood for the brain and heart. Studies have shown that consumption of the pink fish may be linked to lower heart diseases. The oily fish can be eaten raw, smoked, and cooked. And if a salmon fillet may be too fishy to some, break it up and add some mayonnaise to use it as a paste for sandwiches, or simply mash with some vegetables and potatoes to make it into a fishcake.
Threadfins are found in both tropical and subtropical waters of all oceans, and generally gather at sandy, muddy bottoms in depths of less than 150 metres. They are easily identified due to their structure, including their pectoral fin rays, which is divided into two sections. When cooked, it is slightly fishy and full of umami flavours. Its fishiness is welcomed, and many consider it to be a signature flavour of the fish. In Teochew cuisine, threadfin is often steamed using only ginger sliced and fermented soya beans (taucheo). Alternatively, go for a Western presentation and grill the fish with a dash of sea salt, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Snappers are found in both tropical and subtropical regions of all oceans, and two of the most commonly harvested snappers are the red snapper and yellowtail snapper. With delicate, moist, white flesh, and fine, firm texture, the snapper is great for a variety of recipes. It can be served broiled, baked, steamed, poached, fried or grilled. However, compared to many fishes, the snapper has a mild taste, so take caution not to overwhelm it with too much spice.
Groupers are usually identified by its stout body and large mouth. The red grouper in particular, is popular in Chinese restaurants, and is often served steamed or fried. Compared to other varieties of grouper, the red grouper is less firm and has a mild, sweet taste to it. The grouper also holds its moisture better than many other fish, so it’s relatively easier to prepare. When its meat becomes opaque and flakes easily with a fork, it is cooked through. One simple and healthy way to serve the grouper is to steam it with light soy sauce, julienned ginger, and top with spring onions.
Mullets are found worldwide in coastal temperate and tropical waters. Some species are in fresh water too. It is distinguished by the presence of two widely separated dorsal fins, small triangular mouths with closely set teeth, and the absence of a lateral line organ. Its body is elongated and rather stout, and its colour a dark bluish on the top and silver along the sides. Unlike mild tasting whitefish, the mullet has a strong, distinct taste. Its flesh is moist and oily, and its texture firm. It’s well suited to marinating, as its flavour will not be drowned under the marinade. It can be smoked, baked, grilled or pan-fried. Watch out for the skin which will crisp beautifully. For a milder tasting fillet, skin it and trim off the excess fat.
8. Sea bass
The sea bass is identified by its elongated body, small scales, and large mouth. Many has regarded the sea bass to be one of the most delicious fish. Its flesh is firm and lean with a mild and delicate flavour. To ensure the freshness of the raw fish, look out of sparkling white and translucent flesh, rather than opaque ones. While the sea bass is versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways, take extra care not to overcook it. You may also want to cook the fish with its skin on, as crispy sea bass skin is tasty.
Relatively affordable, the tilapia is one of the most sustainably farmed tropical fishes around. It’s very lean, white, and high in protein. As its flavour profile is very neutral, sauces, salsa, or even steamed vegetable on the sides may steal the limelight of this fish dish. Not that it is a bad thing – a tilapia is excellent when deep-fried and covered with hot and spicy Sichuan sauce. It works well as fish tacos too! Remember, the tilapia is delicate, so it’s best fried, steamed, baked or broiled. Refrain from eating raw or grilling it.
Anchovies are small, shiny silver fish with green and blue reflections. It is considered an oily fish, and when eaten fresh, it is light, plump, briny and relatively mild. Most of the time though, anchovies come already packed in jars or cans and cured in olive oil, salt, or pickled in vinegar. Hence, anchovies are often thought to have a salty, strong, taste. Irregardless, many add anchovies to their dishes for an extra touch of flavour. Top it on pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches for an intense and unique touch.
Mackerel are typically recognised by vertical stripes on their backs and deeply forked tails. Like many oily, dark flesh fish, mackerels tens to lose their freshness quickly – even more so than white fish – and can take on a fishy odour if not consumed within the first day. Rich in nutrient and omega-3 fatty acids, the mackerel is oily, making it an excellent fish for smoking. It can also be grilled, fried, barbecued or poached, and is great for stuffing and oven-baking. Do away with light, delicate buttery sauces. The bold flavours of the mackerel would overwhelm mild tasting margination. Instead, spicy, intense flavours and even a touch of acidity works well with this fish.
All fish featured are available at FairPrice Finest outlets.
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