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How to use a bag of frozen mixed seafood so that it isn't chewy as gum.

I recently purchased a bag and used it in a pasta sauce; it has mussels, squid rings, and octopus, among other types of seafood. While the squid rings were tender, everything else seemed pretty much too chewy to properly enjoy.

Any recommendations?

Do I need to cook it longer, cook parts of it longer?

How should I use it, or is this all I can expect from frozen mixed seafood?

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  1. I would not touch "frozen mixed seafood" with a ten-foot paddle. Don't go there.

    2 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        I agree. I've never found the frozen mixed seafood mixes to be good quality seafood. If you want a seafood medley, I would buy the seafood separately and freeze it yourself.

      2. It should be pre-cooked so you just need to heat it thoroughly, so toss it in whatever you are making just a minute or two before it's finished cooking.
        If you actually cook it in a sauce you can easily overcook the seafood.

        1. I bought a bag of that mix once...it probably is par-cooked so you really just want to heat it thru (check the bag). I used it in a desperation stir-fry (you know, what do I have that I can cook in 10 minutes) and it was not chewy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BeeZee

            Maybe the one I bought was different because when it was first warming, everything was spongy. So, perhaps it was too old or not frozen quickly enough at the plant....

          2. I recently used a bag of frozen scallops for a ceviche and it turned out well. Could apply to your mixed bag. I marinated for a full day and night in lime/lemon juice, onion and garlic, then drained and added coconut milk, fish sauce, cilantro, orange wedges, corn and jicama.

            1. Last night, I used a bag of frozen uncooked shrimp from Trader Joe's in a pot of gumbo thusly: I thawed it according to the package directions and when the gumbo was done to my satisfaction, I took it off the heat, dumped in the raw, thawed shrimp, slapped the lid on and came back to it about six minutes later, to perfectly cooked, orangey-pink and opaque shrimp that weren't rubbery at all. So I suspect that your problem was that the seafood was over-cooked, not undercooked.

              8 Replies
              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                I think shrimp is different from the frozen mixed seafood bags. Most shrimp that Americans consume probably have been frozen at some point. You've got good quality shrimp and poor quality shrimp. However with those frozen mixes, I've noticed that the quality of the seafood just plain sucks.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  I understand that, I'm just saying that the answer to the OP's question of "should I cook it longer?" is almost certainly no.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    I only wondered about cooking it longer because I have cooked fresh octopus using a traditional Greek recipe that requires it to be cooked for more than an hour, as I remember it, and it did turn out wonderfully tender.

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      I've heard of squid recipes that work the same way (with the proteins first toughening and then relaxing after a long cook), but that would destroy the mussels and everything else.

                      Basically, like everyone else said, bags of frozen mixed seafood are one of those things that seem like a good idea at first but really aren't.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        yup, squid/calamari can either be cooked very briefly, or for a very long time.

                        Totally agree with BarmyFotheringayPhipps - I've done jambalaya with frozen shrimp the same way by thawing and then mixing into the hot stew, turning off the heat and just walking away. There's enough heat to cook it - be gentle with your seafood!

                2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  I have never had a problem with frozen shrimp; however, there were few teeny, tiny shrimp in this bag. Can't even say I noticed them; the problem was with the octopus, and it definitely was not overcooked. Shrimp and octopus are two different creatures, but thanks for your input.

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    My understanding is that octopus is rather like squid, both can be cooked very briefly, or both can be cooked for a long time, and there is no in between, but for octopus, the long time is measured in hours. I eat squid, not octopus. My understanding is that short cooked octopus will be chewy, unlike squid, which will be tender. Perhaps the octopus in these mixes has been short cooked, and that is the trouble. If that is the case, you need to separate it out and simmer it for maybe 2 hours.

                    I haven't been able to make those mixes work, even though they usually look inviting and nicely frozen, unlike most seafood I'm offered, which has ice crystals galore. So, if you figure it out, post back. I'd like to know.

                    1. re: saltwater

                      Yes, thanks for your advice. I can't say I'm up to much experimentation, as the whole point of a frozen bag is convenience, and separating things out just isn't that. I have always found frozen bags of squid rings to be easy to cook, and so I think the problem is the octopus. Truth be told, though, there was really nothing from that bag that tasted good... I think I'll stick to less convenient, somewhat pricier options and enjoy things a whole lot more, in the future!

                3. This old...but, I use it often.

                  I cook red sauce, usually from scratch, but you can use your favorite store bought.
                  In a separate pan, get it nice an hot. Before that I toss the thawed sea food with red pepper flakes, and salt. Make sure it is drained, I use paper towels until they are not wet. I then put in some olive oil and fresh chopped garlic. Saute that for a few seconds, then toss in sea food.
                  Let everything sit for a few minutes to brown, then toss in the pan to cook evenly. Turn up the heat, then add the sauce to that pan. You want that seafood juices and bits. Works well with penne or linguini.

                  1. Seafood chili (chili blanco) works well with this melange - use a slow cooker.

                    1. just bring it to a simmer boil 1 min and check to see if the squid ring are not tough shut of fire let sit 30 to 40 sec and check to make sure no frozen pieces dump water out and do what you like.

                      1. I've made Korean pancake Hae Mul Pa Jun, with the trader joes version.