Tuesday, December 30, 2014

At Costco, should you go for fresh or frozen from the deep sea?

I poached fresh, wild-caught Icelandic haddock fillets from Costco Wholesale in Roasted Poblano Salsa from Whole Foods Market in under 10 minutes. 

Editor's note: With only a couple of exceptions, I prefer fresh, wild-caught fish fillets from Costco Wholesale.


When I felt like fresh fish for dinner on Monday, I drove a couple of miles to Costco Wholesale in Hackensack at a little after 3 in the afternoon.

The warehouse store offers a large variety of seafood from all over the world -- fresh, frozen, wild and farmed.

As usual, I found fresh, wild-caught fillets of cod, haddock and flounder for as little as $7.99 a pound, and chose a 1.6-pound of package of flaky haddock from Iceland ($8.99 a pound).

I knew I had a 16-ounce bottle of 365 Everyday Value Roasted Poblano Salsa from Whole Foods Market and fresh limes at home, all I would need to poach the haddock, which I cut into serving pieces and sprinkled with Aleppo pepper.

Less than 10 minutes after the salsa and fresh lime juice came to a boil in a covered pan, I was spooning two portions of fish over leftover organic brown rice.

I actually cooked my haddock for only 5 minutes, and it continued cooking after I turned off the fire.

A glass of red wine and a triple-washed Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix Salad ($4.89 a pound) completed the meal.

Previously frozen lobster tails at Costco Wholesale are $21 a pound. The label describes them as "warm water" lobster, but the use of a preservative is a real turn-off, and I've never purchased them. Where are they from? The label doesn't say. See a comment at the end of the post for information on the origin of these lobster tails.
Boxes holding 10 pounds of frozen Red King Crab.
The label doesn't say where these cooked legs and claws come from, though we bought loose king crab legs from Costco's Seafood Road Show for our Christmas dinner, and I assumed they were from Alaska.
At the Hackensack warehouse store, previously frozen whole wild octopus from the Philippines, left, and frozen calamari tubes.

Frozen or previously frozen?

Costco's Seafood Road Show ended a long holiday run in Hackensack today, and we liked the loose frozen King Crab legs we bought for our Christmas dinner ($17.99 a pound).

We steamed the fully cooked legs for Christmas, and made a salad with the leftovers with diced celery, onion and sweet pepper, dressed with Dijon mustard and fresh lime juice.

We also like previously frozen Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon, which shot up to $18.89 a pound last May.

Recently, the price of 1 pound of the sliced salmon went down to $15.99, compared to $15.59 in May 2013.

We've also enjoyed frozen hake and wild sockeye salmon fillets.

But we avoid most of the frozen shellfish Costco sells, as well as the previously frozen farmed Black Tiger Shrimp from Vietnam.

We also are no fans of fresh farmed fish -- from the huge fillets of artificially colored salmon and steel-head trout to the tilapia.


  1. This is an old post but I'll answer anyway. The lobster tails mostly come from the area famously known as the Mosquito Coast: Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica. They are extremely good quality but the issue many consumers point to is that unlike Maine lobsters that are caught in cages, these Spiny Lobsters have to be gathered by hand by divers who risk their lives each day to harvest these shellfish. The lobsters are found in fairly shallow water, generally 30-50', but the divers use scuba tanks. And since they are paid by the tail, very poorly, they have to dive all day just to feed their families. As a consequence they make more dives than healthy, disregarding the surface time required to off-gas the nitrogen of each dive, and often get the bends as a result. Many live with a minor, chronic case of the bends for years since they don't ever get fully decompressed.
    All of it is so that we can enjoy affordable lobster tails, and of course so the fishing companies in that part of the world can make huge profits selling to Costco and other wholesalers at the expense of the divers.

  2. Thanks for your comment. At the last Seafood Road Show I saw before Christmas, Costco was selling frozen freshwater lobster tails from Canada. I checked the label for preservatives, but there were none listed.

    I bought one and baked it with a dressing of herbs and Dijon mustard as part of a Feast of the 7 Fishes. Here is the link:



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