Freezing seafood, like pretty much any other food type, is a great way for fishing companies and food manufacturers to ensure a more consistent supply. It also facilitates ease of transport to more places where their products can be enjoyed by more people. In the olden days, a michelin recipes fresh catch could only be enjoyed by seaside communities but with the advent of food processing like freezing, pretty much anything, even highly perishable items, can be transported easily. – magret de canard recipe
Though some textural quality may be lost especially for small delicate crustaceans like shrimp, freezing during peak season when there’s an abundant catch ensures more nutrients than if these are caught off season. Countries that have a long coastline usually have facilities for processing their products. Canning, salting and smoking are other ways to preserve seafood but freezing them raw or cooked retains the original flavor and texture the most.
Using frozen fish fillets, shrimps, scallops is a convenient way to keep ample stocks in the kitchen and not have to buy them in smaller quantities fresh. It is also practical for restaurants and caterers especially in quantity food production as some products can be purchased in various stages of preparation like pre-peeled and deveined shrimp, which can be bought in different sizes. Fish fillets and calamari (squid rings) can be bought already breaded and ready to fry. Crabmeat is available pre-cooked and removed from the shell, a process that is quite tedious to do. Buying and measuring ingredients for recipes is also made easier because you know exactly how much you are getting as opposed to fresh wherein there’s a lot of loss from peeling, trimming, etc.
Using a frozen product doesn’t necessarily mean you are cutting corners or compromising quality. It is merely maximising what’s available given factors such as price, freshness and your intention to use the item. For making soups, stir fries, fried rice, crab cakes and other dishes where seafood is an accompaniment or accent flavor, you can use frozen. However, for raw dishes like sushi, sashimi and ceviche, wherein you want to achieve the straight-from-the-sea texture and flavor, then it is wiser to go to your fishmonger instead.
A few tips when using frozen: for those watching their sodium intake, go slow with processed seafood products as these can have high salt content. You may also have to adjust cooking time. Lastly, be creative in crafting dishes. Combine frozen with fresh ingredients like vegetables and fruits, starches and proteins to achieve depth of flavor and textural contrast.