If you are a seafood lover you know just how expensive it can be to eat out. A high-end meal of seabass or shellfish for two can easily cost you $75-100. Skip eating out and make your own seafood at home! It doesn’t have to be expensive if you follow these tried and true tips.
Lately I have been on a big home cooked seafood kick. The fish tacos above are one of my favorite seafood dishes to make. For the longest time it intimidated me to cook my own seafood. I’m not sure why, maybe I was afraid I’d mess up an expensive dish. Seafood is usually more expensive than other proteins and you know how I hate to waste food, especially expensive food. With these tips you won’t risk messing things up and wasting money. Here are my favorite tips for buying seafood on a budget.
Compare prices: I like to shop around at local markets, high end supermarkets such as Whole Foods, and regular stores such as Publix. When Whole Foods has a special deal, they are usually cheaper than Publix. Local markets will sometimes sell you seafood below market price if it is the end of the day and their food hasn’t sold yet.
Befriend a fisherman: This is only feasible if you are in a fishing community. We’ve had great luck getting amazing fish from friends who are fishermen and boat captains.
Have the supermarket steam your shellfish for FREE: Almost all the supermarkets I’ve ever been to will steam shellfish free of charge. Some will even add Cajun and crab boil seasoning for free. Go to the seafood counter first, let them know you want it steamed and they will steam your seafood while you shop.
Don’t be afraid to buy frozen: You’d be surprised to find that most seafood you buy has previously been flash frozen. Frozen seafood isn’t bad like it used to be. These days the flash freezing method occurs on the boats and preserves freshness and flavor. Skip the “fresh” counter and head to the frozen section instead. Check the frozen section next to the seafood counter. You can find frozen seafood in the regular frozen aisle, but you get more selection by the seafood aisle.
Buy inexpensive fish: I think we would all prefer to buy fresh sushi grade tuna and seabass over tilapia and catfish. Save the expensive fish for special date nights and buy the less expensive ones for your regular weekly menu. Tilapia and salmon are both very affordable, especially if you buy them frozen and in bulk. Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Publix all have very good frozen fish selections at reasonable prices.
Make your own dipping sauces: Don’t waste your money on $4 bottles of cocktail sauce. The ingredients to make all seafood sauces are so simple.
I always whip up homemade cocktail sauce because it is as easy as mixing horseradish and ketchup, both of which we keep in our fridge at all times. I use 1/2 C. ketchup with 1 tbsp. of horseradish. The real recipe calls for lemon and Worcestershire, but I’m always content with plain old ketchup and horseradish.
What are your favorite tips to cook seafood on a budget?