The best way to store fish is over ice. Remove the fish from its original packaging, rinse under cold water, and dry with paper towels. Set fish on a cooling rack and place inside a container filled with crushed ice. The ice should reach just beneath the fish, but shouldn’t touch it. Cover the container, rack, and fish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the fridge. If the fish is stored longer than 24 hours, be sure to swap out the melted ice with a new batch. Ideally, any fresh fish should not be stored for more than two days.
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Some fish can be frozen for up to year (with three months as the standard), but its freshness depends entirely on its exposure to air. To limit this from taking place, you should first clean the fish, wrap it in aluminum foil or freezer paper, and place it in a freezer bag. Press down on the bag before closing to eliminate any excess air.
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Thawing frozen fish is quite an easy process. Simply leave it in the refrigerator overnight or place the wrapped fish in a bowl of cold water. Don’t microwave the fish, as some sections will cook while others are continuing to thaw.
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Paul Prudhomme first served blackened fish at his K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans back in the late ’70s, and since then the dish has made its way onto menus everywhere. Although the combination of spices and butter becomes smoky as hell while the fish grills, “blackened” does not mean burned. Melting some Creole mustard butter over the top adds some extra-buttery spice to the catfish. Wash it down with a classic New Orleans Hurricane Cocktail and our King Cake recipe.
Special equipment: You will need a pastry brush for this recipe.
What to buy: Creole (a.k.a. Cajun) mustard is a spicy, hot mustard. You can find it at gourmet grocery stores, some well-stocked grocers, and online.
Game plan: To keep the fish from sticking to the grill, once the grill is hot, use the scraper to remove any residue from previous grilling sessions. Then follow the instructions for oiling the grill right before cooking.
This dish was featured as part of our Recipes to Help You Conquer Your Fish-Grilling Fears.