A little bit of time has passed since Francesco Coli, enjoying his childhood in Puglia, Italy, spent hour after hour wading into the Mediterranean Sea to catch fish with a spear gun. Yet, the succulence of fresh seafood is far from a fading memory.
As the proprietor of Massa’ Coastal Italian Cuisine in Mamaroneck, Francesco makes it his mission to pick out the freshest fish and prepare it to perfection for the restaurant’s patrons.
Francesco also has some advice if you’re buying fish for your own dinner table. Here are his five tips for ensuring that you make only tasty selections:
1. Smell it! A questionable or pungent odor means you should avoid the fish at all costs. Fresh fish smells like clean water or cucumbers.
2. Poke it! Don’t be squeamish; go ahead and give it a good jab. “The skin of the fish should be elastic and yet firm,” Francesco explains. “If it feels too soft or your finger leaves an indentation, it is not fresh.”
3. Stare it down. The eyes are key: If they are cloudy or sunken, look elsewhere. The eyes should be clear and full.
4. Check its gills. They should be bright red rather than washed-out. A fish that is not fresh has gills the color of faded brick.
5. Study its skin. Discoloration or dull patches are sure signs that the fish is past its prime. The skin should be metallic and vibrant.
When you’re on the hunt for the best place to buy fresh fish, look no further than your local fishmonger. Just be sure to follow the tips Francesco has outlined so that there are no surprises on your dinner table.
Francesco’s advice doesn’t stop there: In the debate between farm-raised or wild fish, he comes down squarely on the wild side. “Farm-raised fish have a higher level of pesticides and chemicals due to the closed quarters they are raised in, and they have to be given antibiotics to stop the potential spread of disease,” Francesco explains. “They also have a much lower level of Omega 3s than wild fish do.”
Massa’ Coastal Italian Cuisine serves up a sampling of sumptuous seafood straight from the wild waters of Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and right here in America. It comes with an environmentally conscious guarantee: “All of the fish that we serve is sustainable,” Francesco notes, “meaning we don’t sell anything that is not in abundance in the wild.”
For Francesco, who has enjoyed a lifetime love affair with flavorful fish, it’s all about keeping things fresh.
Massa’ Coastal Italian Cuisine brings a proud Italian heritage together with food expertise and only the freshest ingredients to create an unforgettable dining experience.
Massa’ Coastal Italian Cuisine
599 E. Boston Post Road