Sam Gorenstein's Tips on Fresh Fish, Part One: Shop for Guts, Slime, and Bloodlines

Categories: Home Cooking
Photo Courtesy of My Ceviche
The phrase "catch of the day" might evoke thoughts of family-run fishing boats, quaint coastal towns and early morning markets. Add a couple of seagulls, a few fishmongers wearing yellow rubber overalls and you have quite the romanticized vision of fresh fish.

Unfortunately, today this catch phrase can more easily refer to fish farmed in Asia, fed artificial ingredients, processed, frozen, and then shipped thousands of miles. Just doesn't sound charming, right?

Sam Gorenstein, the James Beard Award semifinalist and partner at My Ceviche, is here to help. When Sam and his business partner, Roger Duarte, opened the casual seafood joint they had a simple mission: to offer affordable, local, fresh and delicious fish. So, with these eight tips from Sam, you can finally skip that dull farmed tilapia and instead opt for the real, true flavors of local Florida catches.

Emily Codik
Sam Gorenstein's Tips on Selecting Local, Fresh Fish

1. Ask to see the whole fish, guts and head included
Sam works with trusted local purveyors, but he also knows that the freshest fish comes with guts and a head. To keep fish from spoiling, fishmongers have to start cleaning out fish as days go by. So, if you're buying a fish that has guts, that means the fish was caught earlier in the day or the day before. If the fish has no head, then it could have been fished a week ago. If you are shopping just for a fillet, then chances are the fish came out of the water over a week ago.

2. Don't be shy, press on the flesh
Fresh fish has a firm flesh, so be sure to take a gentle poke at it before taking it home.

3. Slime is good
Fresh fish is slimy and can have a thick, gooey substance coating its body. Some fishmongers might wash the sea slime off, but if you do happen to spot some of it, don't fret. The slime coat is actually one of the fish's natural defense mechanisms against potential bacterium and infections.

Location Info

My Ceviche

235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

This was great, but where can one get fresh whole fish.  The usual suspects on N. River Drive aren't cutting it anymore.


Great, now where can we actually buy fresh, whole fish?


Hey Ed, Sam uses local purveyors which he has been working with for years. He recommended George Figueroa of Trigger Seafood, phone is 305-968-2583. 


That's a great start.  Thanks much!

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