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Fish Facts: Types and Tales

Fish is so widely available today, either frozen or fresh, that it is easy to be confused about which to purchase and how to cook it

Here are some of the more popular fish that you'll find at the markets.

Tilapia. These are farm-raised and readily available. Flavor is mild and they taste best when sauteed or baked.

Rainbow Trout. Small, but very simple to steam along with your favorite seasonings (try lemon pepper).

Halibut. Another mild-tasting fish. Available fresh beginning mid-March, but can be purchased frozen or fresh (thawed).

Tuna. Great for grilling. Just don't overcook as it can turn rock-hard. Best to use a temperature gauge on this one.

Sea Bass. Another grilling favorite and, even better, can actually be well-done and taste just fine. Sea bass, by the way, is not a particular type of fish, but is more of a category for fishes that have white flesh and come from the sea.

Salmon. This delightful fish is now farm-raised and readily available. It's one of the most versatile fish, meaning it can be cooked any way you choose.

If you are purchasing a fish that is pre-packaged and it has thawed, poke it to check for a springy surface. Make sure it bounces right back to the original position and you're good to go.

If you are inland and are seeking fresh fish, it's perfectly all right to look at frozen varieties. They'll be a lot fresher after thawing than the so-called "fresh" fish that have traveled some distance to reach the store.

Last, some fish gurus have explained that a fish that has been frozen may actually be better. They state that freezing for at least three days and at a zero temperature will eliminate bacteria and parasites. The fish continues to age, however, and they state that, too, increases the flavor of the fish. Most sushi-grade fish, by law, has to be frozen first, for this very reason.

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