It’s a new Ice Age - take a fresh look at frozen.
As provenance becomes increasingly important to chefs and diners, Norway is going above and beyond in its determination to produce quality products that are not just nutritious and high in quality but sustainable and available year-round. Hear why Simon Hulstone believes Norwegian frozen at sea fish should be on a savvy chef’s radar.
Experienced skippers and state-of-the-art technology play significant roles in harvesting the best quality, sustainable cod and haddock from Norway. Several advanced vessels fishing in the Barents Sea and the North East Atlantic catch, process, fillet and blast freeze to below -20oC within 2-5 hours of leaving the sea – an ultramodern process which locks optimal freshness, nutrients, and taste without compromising on quality.
Often deemed an inferior product, Simon Hulstone, Chef Proprietor of The Elephant and previous National Chef of the Year, attributes the misconception of frozen fish to a lack of education around defrosting, which is a very simple process in the right hands. To defrost – or temper – chefs need only to remove their desired quantity of frozen fillets and place them on a tray in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours, preferably overnight to gradually thaw. His golden rule being never to run the frozen fish under cold water. Hulstone adds that the quick freezing to such low temperatures curbs the risk of ice particles in the flesh and insists that a fully tempered fillet will be indistinguishable from a fresh piece of fish in terms of texture, flavour, aroma and appearance.
Delivered to the kitchen filleted and boned, portion size and quality are consistent, and crucially wastage is minimalised. Frozen offers quality and flexibility; making ‘good sense’ to him, Simon urges chefs to embrace Norwegian frozen at sea products for their efficiency, quality, year-round availability, and sustainability credentials.