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Feb 11, 2009 12:35 PM

Trader Joes frozen fish fillets, your opinion?

I saw Trader Joes has frozen salmon (including wild caught), New England scallops, halibut and other types of fish. Have you ever tried any of these? Any good? Crab cakes and salmon burgers?

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  1. I buy TJs frozen fish filets all the time and also have purchased the shrimp and scallops. I would suggest you purchase only the frozen raw shrimp as I thought the texture of the cooked shrimp was a little unappealing, but everyone else scarfed it up.

    On another thread, one of the posters suggest you check the packaging of the froze fish prior to selecting it. I concur with this. Sometimes the packaging breaks down and it seems the vacuum around the fish is gone. Sometimes the quality of these packs is not as good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: janetms383

      That was probably me. I think these packages sometimes tear in handling, and if the vacuum seal is broken and the fish somehow thaws a bit and re-freezes, as can also happen in bulk-handling situations, it can become "freezer burned". I have had exactly one such package, and it was pretty bad, though of course they replaced it.

      We live largely on TJ's frozen fish. Lots of kinds of wild salmon, and the rockfish, cod and mahi-mahi are always great. Had a lunch today of re-fried mahi-mahi in a sandwich, and I'm still grinning about it...

    2. I once read a flyer from TJ's explaining, if memory serves, that their fish is flash-frozen and vacuum-packed at sea, making it fresher than other frozen or even fresh-caught fish. I have been pleased with the quality.

      5 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        "fish is flash-frozen and vacuum-packed at sea, making it fresher than other frozen or even fresh-caught fish", but it's frozen, how can it be "fresher" than unfrozen, also known as fresh.

        1. re: jfood

          If by "fresh" you mean "never frozen," then it can't. But if by "fresh" you mean "less deteriorated," then flash-frozen fish can be a good bet.

          Some "fresh" (never frozen) fish spends several days or even a week or more on ice before it gets to market. And sometimes that's a little longer than is ideal. In such cases, the fish may well have had a better flavor and texture if it had been flash-frozen immediately after being caught.

          1. re: alanbarnes

            agreed, but it can never be fresher. Once frozen it can never be fresh

            but if the choice is "less deteriorated" or flash frozen, jfood's grabbing some meat.

            1. re: jfood

              Don't underestimate flash-frozen fish. Nearly everything served in a sushi bar has been through the freezer, and that's some of the best fish out there.

              As a matter of fact, the captain of the charter boat I took out of Kona harbor last year recommended freezing and defrosting yellowfin tuna before eating it. He said it improved the flavor and texture. We had some (unfrozen) tuna the night it was caught, and more (frozen and defrosted) the next day. I can't say I disagree with him.

        2. re: greygarious

          I too have had good experiences with flash-frozen fish. If fresh is not available (or if it's prohibitively expensive as it often is) it's a great alternative.

        3. Generally quite good,. Not just the filets, but also the steaks, i.e. swordfish, halibut, salmon steaks.

          1. I bought them once upon recommendation, and thought they were far inferior to fresh. Why not just buy their fresh fish?

            3 Replies
            1. re: cettlinger

              Reason #1 - it's really expensive. Reason #2 - almost all of their fresh salmon is that disgusting farmed stuff. Reason #3 - virtually any mass-market fish you buy will have been flash-frozen at sea, so the TJ's frozen stuff is simply vacuum-wrapped at that stage. I've not had any I thought was noticeably inferior to any but the most high-end off-the-boat stuff, and we simply cannot afford to eat that several times a week.

              1. re: Will Owen

                And, not all of us have access to a good fresh fish market!!

                1. re: janetms383

                  I do have access if not working, FL and all, but not all is always fresh and have found that grocery stores and places like Trader Joes have been there with a friend is just fine. Sure fresh is better, always, but, cost, time and availability weigh in. Mine aren't open during the week and not close to me so grocery is all I have. I use the best I can get and have found most a pretty descent these days. I poach, bake, broil and steam and use some in fish. I like to cook fish at least a couple of times a week. Be creative, skewers, lettuce wraps, wonton wraps, lots of ideas which are great and many are very quick and easy with many ingredients in your fridge. I'm sure you all realize that. Many ways to use fish. I use white fish weekly and love salmon, scallops, crab, even canned when I can't get fresh or it is too pricey. I won't pay that much. I love scallops, oysters, mussels

                  I make with a great cream broth over pasta with fennel and onions. It is amazing. I can't eat enough. whole wheat pasta, fennel, onion, cream white wine, fresh herbs, mussels some artichokes and scallions. It is great and simple 20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

                  Fresh fish, great but not always available so so stores do offer good frozen replacements and they aren't all that bad.

            2. if you have access to a good fish monger there is absolutely no reason to buy frozen.

              If you do not read other posts, since jfood is fortunate to have access.

              7 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                "absolutely no reason"???
                Sorry jfood, AHan can name a few reasons. AHan likes to keep food available in the freezer so he doesn't have to run out to the store every time he wants to make dinner. AHan might want to save a few bucks, so when he sees a good deal he may stock up, as AHan's fish monger is very expensive.

                1. re: AHan

                  haha I agree with all of this. CoryKatherine likes to shop once a week, likes to eat fish, likes to save money....likes Trader Joe's frozen fish and eats it a few times a week for these reasons.

                  1. re: AHan

                    particularly we like the Mahi Mahi, the tilapia, the cod and the wild-caught salmon

                    1. re: CoryKatherine

                      The rockfish, which I think is sold as snapper, is also delicious any way you cook it. My favorite way so far is to put a layer of TJ's tomato-and-olive-oil bruschetta sauce on the bottom of a 6"x 9" deep baking dish, putting in two layers of this fish, cut crosswise to fit, then topping with the rest of the sauce and baking at 350º for about 25 minutes. When it's 130º in the middle it's ready to take out and rest for a bit. Great on rice or just with a side salad.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        awesome suggestion. we basically season and broil everything. occasionally i'll get creative and poach or sautee but i haven't baked any of the fish yet. i'll try this this weekend!

                      2. re: CoryKatherine

                        My tilapia in parchment with pasta and fresh veggies and white wine is amazing, simple 1 pan and amazing.

                        Also, my bourbon maple glazed salmon with sliced grilled onion rings over sauteed chard with maple bacon and sliced apples, served with a simple apple brown sugar and white wine glaze.

                        Mahi Mahi with my lime and lemon citrus vinaigrette with honey and chipoltes over grilled sauteed mahi mahi in a wine marinade with garlic and citrus. Served with a creamy vinaigrette with a spicy creamed corn casserole and grilled lima beans with some roasted red peppers.

                        Fish tacos are great, a sour cream and chipolte and lime, some cabbage, roasted tomatoes and peppers, some fresh avacado and mango if available and some light simple chipolte BBQ as a base with some fresh shredded montery jack or pepper jack my choice. Simple and great flavor.

                        Just a few of my favorites, glad to share, none really hard, mostly things we all have on hand, great with any store bought fish.