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I'll buy refrigerated or frozen shrimp, ahi tuna, mahi-mahi, scallops (especially important to dry), let them defrost a day before in the fridge, and seek to dry them off before laying kosher salt and cooking them . What's the best (and fastest) way to dry off the seafood? I find myself just using a paper towel to dry them off, but I'm wondering if there's a better solution out there. Any suggestions?

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    Is the paper towel insufficient? Commented May 16, 2023 at 22:25
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas It's just annoying to use all those paper towels and to keep touching the paper towel roll with contaminated hands
    – Prospero
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 19:51
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    Tip (contained in my answer): tear off all the towels BEFORE you touch the seafood.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 21:00

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Several layers of paper towel is, in fact, the best way.

Place the seafood on 2-3 layers of paper towel and press down on it with another 2-3 layers of paper towel from the top.

Alternatives do not work as well:

  • Using cloth towels means that you need to immediately wash those towels
  • Leaving the seafood exposed in the fridge so it dries out can result in both the fridge and the seafood picking up smells
  • Heat-based drying can cook the seafood or cause it to go bad
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    I am a heavy user of paper towel in the kitchen, but I know some folks avoid disposable products. In that case, a cloth towel works just fine. However, as you state, that cloth towel needs to be sent to the laundry and not used before washing due to the risk of cross contamination.
    – moscafj
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 22:48
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    Yeah, and it needs to be laundered immediately, because it will start to stink within hours. I don't, personally, use paper towels for much, but this is one of the few things I use them for.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 1:16
  • It’s possible that aiming a fan on them would dry them out, like for making beef jerky, but I don’t know if that might cause other problems like cross contamination
    – Joe
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 15:30
  • I was hoping the answer wouldn't be paper towels, but sounds like it is! I'll just continue the old ways.
    – Prospero
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 19:50
  • Joe: the main problem with any kind of air-drying is the amount of time it takes, and thus the amout of time the seafood spends at an unsafe temperature. Fishing ships at sea in the Canadian winter or the arctic circle do use air drying, but they have the advantage of the biggest walk-in fridge in the world.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 20:59

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