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Four things you might not know about frozen fish

You can’t get much fresher than frozen fish!

Frozen fish is often underrated, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or, in this case, the fish by its packaging.

People sometimes ask whether there is any difference between fresh and frozen fish in terms of taste and quality. We can dispel that myth here and now. It’s exactly the same fish.

So what’s the difference? Well, apart from whether you can find the product in the fresh or the frozen food aisle, the only difference is that fresh fish has a shorter shelf life.

Who doesn’t enjoy a tasty fish soup? If you’re using frozen fish, you can place the fish chunks straight in the soup. It’s fine to mix oily and white fish if you only have a little of each. Photo: Hanna Fjeldheim Dale

Frozen fish has a lot of advantages. If you’re only cooking dinner for one or two, you can use as much as you need and save the rest for next time.

Thanks to its long shelf life, frozen fish is a great choice both for those who like to plan their menus and for those who prefer to rustle up dinner on the spot. Having some fish in the freezer can also save the day if you haven’t made it to the supermarket or have just come back from a trip away.

Ideally, the fish should still be slightly frozen in the middle when you put it in the frying pan. That way, it will turn out nice and juicy and not too dry. Photo: Shutterstock

We get asked a lot of questions about best practice for cooking with frozen fish. Here’s a quick guide to defrosting and preparing fish from the freezer.

1. Defrost in water

The best way to defrost frozen fish is to place it in cold to lukewarm water. This speeds up the thawing process because water conducts heat better than air. Keep the fish in its original packaging or a sealed plastic bag, move it straight from the freezer to a bowl of water, and leave it there for 20–30 minutes.

Even if you forgot to defrost the fish, you can still make a healthy, tasty meal. Fish soup is an invaluable lifehack. Photo: Øystein Klakegg

2. Defrost in the fridge

If you’ve always preferred to let your fish fillets thaw in the fridge, then by all means keep doing so. Place the fillets on a dish or pan the night before, and the next day they’ll be ready to cook.

Top tip!

Ideally, the fish should still be slightly frozen in the middle when you fry it. That way, it will turn out nice and juicy and not too dry.

3. Straight from freezer to pan

If fully defrosting your fish is not convenient, you can place a partially thawed block of fish straight into a baking dish or pan. Let the fillet thaw on the kitchen counter for 15 minutes first, cut it into smaller pieces, place them in an ovenproof dish with butter and vegetables, and put it straight in the oven. You can also use partially thawed fish in fish soup.

Bear in mind that a frozen fillet might release a little water during cooking.

A baking pan is perfect for cooking partially thawed fillets. Photo: Hanna Fjeldheim Dale

4. Simmer in boiling water

It couldn’t be easier. Boil the water and place the frozen fillets in the saucepan. Bring the water almost to the boil again, and allow the fish to simmer until the flesh starts to flake – about 10 minutes. The simmering time depends on the size and thickness of the fillet. Add salt to the water if the fish is unseasoned.

Boiled cod can be served with style, as pictured here, but basically this is simple traditional fare that anyone can cook with ease. Photo: Øystein Klakegg