Loading... Please wait...

Blog - Wayne Samiere

When it comes to fish, truly ‘fresh’ isn’t ‘just out of the water’

Posted by

Would you call me crazy if I said fish consumed the day it’s caught might be some of the blandest and toughest you’ll ever eat?

What if I told you that fish properly harvested and held ice cold in a boat—for several days—is what you want? Would you brand me the Heretic of Honolulu Fish? After all, doesn’t everyone want fish that “swam yesterday”?

Wrong. Totally wrong.

Believe me when I say that the best fish you’ll ever eat has a little age on it, yet so few know this valuable truth. Let’s turn to the Japanese for their expertise in this area.

Hardcore sashimi chefs understand that muscle tissue of just-caught fish is in rigor mortis and overly firm. Until a series of enzymatic reactions allow the cell walls in the fish’s muscles to break down, the flavors we all attribute to perfect sashimi can’t be released.

The Japanese describe this condition as konnyaku, loosely translated as “too fresh” or “red and jelly-like” because the flesh is brightly colored and almost glassy. Since such super-fresh fish is slightly rubbery and has zero flavor, the pros who grade it won’t judge it until it’s been iced at least 24 hours, and ideally three days.

At that point, as a fish’s cell walls are breaking down and releasing some water, the meat begins to firm up in a favorably, toothsome way. That change also releases oils that create the unrivaled flavors, textures and aromas craved by all sashimi fans.

Now, let’s head out to sea to understand why fish caught via long-line harvesting and fish caught on rod and reel differ profoundly. As we’ve all seen on TV—and maybe even experienced personally—a fish hooked by a human using a rod and reel will fight to its death. There’s nothing subtle about its will to get off that hook to live another day, so when it’s hauled aboard, it’s exhausted and its muscles are teeming with lactic acid. If that fish isn’t bled out properly, that acid stays in its muscles and “burns” the meat, meaning the flesh is grainy, metallic-tasting and discolored. That fish also has zero shelf life and could begin turning black within a day.

By comparison, fish caught on a long line endures far less stress. Fully deployed, a long line stretches out about 12 miles and features about 2,500 baited hooks. When a fish bites the hook, it’ll fight to get off, but since there’s no one topside trying to pull it in, its panic ceases and the lactic acid created in that initial resistance is reabsorbed. When pulled aboard, the fish is in a somewhat dazed and relaxed condition and not struggling. Properly bled, water-cooled and stored in ice-cold conditions, the fish is now in optimal conditions for aging.

That, my friends, is the fish you want, one which has passed rigor mortis, is self-tenderizing, incredibly flavorful and at the true peak of freshness!

Make a marketing splash by promoting the provenance of your fish

By Wayne Samiere CEO, Honolulu Fish CompanyJust the barest mention of Hawaii sets your mind’s eye to painting pictures of a tropical paradise with turquoise waters, volcanic sand beaches, decadent Polynesian food and sundrenched weather.But try the same exercise using “upstate New York,” “the plains of Montana” or “New Zealand’s rocky cliffs” and I’m betting such [...]

Read More »

​Wayne Samiere responds to Oceana’s seafood mislabeling report

Wayne Samiere, owner and CEO of Honolulu Fish Company, recently talked with NBC News Business about a report from Oceana claiming 20 percent of seafood served is mislabeled.His thoughts?"In seafood, reputation is everything. Who would risk their reputation?" "You can always go to a restaurant and find something, always dig up some kind of thing going on, but is it [...]

Read More »

Poke – A Way of Life in Hawaii

Honolulu Fish Company’s CEO and owner Wayne Samiere was recently interviewed by Progressive Grocer’s Grocerant Solutions Magazine to discuss the trending Hawaiian dish, poke. Pronounced “poe-kay,” Wayne explains that poke is a way of life on the Hawaiian Islands.“Poke means to cut up,” says Wayne Samiere, owner of Honolulu Fish Co. “It’s part of the way of living over [...]

Read More »

HFC CEO Wayne Samiere talks sustainability with SeafoodSource Seafood Business Insider

Honolulu Fish Co.’s fearless leader and owner Wayne Samiere was recently interviewed by SeafoodSource.com for their Seafood Business Insider column. Here he shared a bit about his background as a marine biologist, Honolulu Fish Co.’s history, and business advice and challenges. More specifically – he highlighted the growing interest in non-targeted species and HFC’s sustainability efforts [...]

Read More »

Sign up to our newsletter

Recent Updates