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Trader Joe's Frozen Fish [Moved from Home Cooking board]

Do folks have any experience w/ Trader Joe's frozen fish? I find I don't eat fish as often as I would like b/c I can't make it to the store on weeknights for fresh, so I'm wondering how the frozen fish compares?

Also, how do folks thaw the fish? Overnight in the fridge?

Many thanks!

sljones

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  1. Just don't make the mistake of buying the frozen squid-patty thing that sort of resembles a cleaned squid body. It's actually a perforated piece of squid that's been soaked in liquid and then frozen- it's probably more than 50% water.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Luther

      the frozen raw calamari rings are fab -- just don't overcook. a minute is all they need.

      I've had great luck overall with their fish - the wild salmon, some other cod-like thick white fish - I find it to be of v.good quality.

    2. I buy their frozen fish a lot, and I think it's quite good. I've had the tuna, salmon, tilapia, and their prices on frozen shrimp are the best around. I don't usually plan far enough ahead to thaw in the fridge overnight, so I end up letting it thaw in the sink under running water for a few minutes while I prep the rest of dinner.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LaurainCT

        I've had good experience with their frozen fish as well. Nothing fancy, but for a weeknight dinner it works just fine. I agree with LaurainCT; the thawing time under running water is so quick, I don't bother trying to plan ahead.

        1. re: LaurainCT

          ""... I end up letting it thaw in the sink under running water for a few minutes while I prep the rest of dinner.""

          I do that as well, but use cold water. I tried (or call it testing) warm / hot running water variations, then discovered the fish I was thawing either fell apart or imparted the flavor real bad.

          -----

          OOppss! I see "annimal" mentioned that but I added some reasons why.

        2. Just remember to thaw in cold water, not warm or hot.

          1. Great, thanks! I'm grateful to incorporate fish into weeknight meals, and will definitely pick up some shrimp!

            2 Replies
            1. re: sljones

              Please, Please, Please don't buy the frozen tiger shrimp from any Asian country - it is better for your health and the health of the world to buy un-farmed, preferably local, shrimp from the United States. There are a multitude of reasons - Destruction of mangroves, huge loads of antibiotics that end up in waterways and you, excessive nutrients flushed into waterways, pesticides to deal with the "mites" captive shrimp get, cheap farmed shrimp shipped cheaply from Asia is wasteful and puts our own fishermen out of business. . . .to name a few. Please, before you buy any seafood, research the most sustainable options (there are many others it is wise to avoid), the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch is a good source for this information.

              1. re: mle17

                mle, i agree. it is the antibiotic soup from farm-raised asian (and other countries, too) shrimp that scares me -- plus the shrimp don't have any good FLAVOR.

                i go for natural, wild-caught fresh gulf of mexico shrimp, all the way!

            2. I've had great luck with their frozen fish. Everything I've tried has been excellent--tilapia, calamari rings, shrimp, scallops, tuna, salmon.

              12 Replies
              1. re: IndyGirl

                My SO bought some sea scallops at TJ's yesterday because he balked at paying $22 a pound at the local fish market. I'm a little disappointed because I'm afraid they'll release a lot of liquid when I cook them. Any tips? Or is this getting too mucn into "home cooking?"

                1. re: Glencora

                  more than likely yes, they will release rather a lot of liquid. Frozen scallops are treated with STP (Sodium Tripoly Phosphate?) to help them retain water in the freezing/thawing process.

                  I usually use fresh, dry-packed, scallops so I can only conjecture about tips on using frozen... since they will likely realease liquid the moment they hit the pan, searing may not be the optimal route to go (of course it would depend on how much liquid they actually throw).
                  Maybe cook them in whatever liquid they give off, then use that to build a sauce?

                  Cooking time should be about 10 minutes total.

                  1. re: djohnson22

                    Sigh. I wanted the fresh dry-packed. These are Japanese wild scallops. I'm hoping they're good quality...for frozen.

                    1. re: Glencora

                      I don't know about anyone else, but I would be very keen on how you ended up preparing them, and how they were (both for taste and quality)

                      1. re: djohnson22

                        I made scallops in Champagne sauce with shiitakes and tarragon. First, I made sure the scallops were thawed and dry. Then, I thought I would be clever and cook the scallops in one pan and after they released the liquid, quickly transfer them to finish in another pan. Well, they released liquid in that one,too. I think it's just not possible to get that slightly golden crust on frozen scallops. Next time I might try broiling them, but I'd be afraid of over-cooking. The good news is that they tasted great, sweet, with a tender texture. Considering that they cost half as much as fresh, I think they are a good compromise. I'll buy them again.

                        1. re: Glencora

                          Happy to hear that they turned out well. It really is amazing how expensive fresh, dry-packed scallops are!

                          Funny that you ended up doing them in a champagne sauce... that is what I had go through my mind as well.

                          As for broiling, I would think that if you didn't put the shelf too close to the top you should do all right. Again the total cooking time would be about 10 minutes max TOTAL per inch of thickness (at 400 to 450 degrees). In this case I might check them at about 6 or 7 minutes and adjust cooking time as appropriate.

                          1. re: Glencora

                            I've had the same problem with frozen scallops but I have had some success in pan searing if I dry them really well, even squeezing them a bit. I use lots of paper towels and use an amazingly hot pan and make sure oil is very hot.

                            1. re: Glencora

                              Absurdly late to this party...
                              Yeah, the bane of all scallop lovers (or those of us who cook 'em for you) is that stp (wet pack). I haven't tried TJ's scallops, but previous attempts have led me to a soaking/brining approach. I usually soak the scallops in at least one water bath of cold water to draw out the milky fluid, then brine the scallops in a simple brine (Alton's shrimp brine is good). It usually makes the scallops more than good enough for pastas and smoking for soups. If, however, scallops are the star of the show, I ususally just wind up spending big bucks for fresh.

                              My two cents about TJ's fish- I'm batting 4 for 6: I've tried their salmon, ahi, swordfish, and halibut- I've had a few duds (poor texture, off flavor, etc) but I will definitely keep trying.

                              1. re: lunchbox

                                my TJ's frozen fish purchases have been very poor. Mushy, off flavors. I'll stick to fresh.

                      2. re: Glencora

                        But if you buy scallops treated with Sodium Tri Phosphate, half or more of what you're paying is for water. Maybe look for another fish market, mine charges only $8.99 for dry local scallops, and your yield is what you start with.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I know, I'm lucky, and the local fisherman keep them well supplied. If I'm passing by I always grab a pound or 2 just as a treat. If I had to pay over $20 I'd never buy them, and that would be sad!