defrost cod filets?

I left some cod filets in the fridge overnight to thaw (I put them in sometime around 2 or 3 in the afternoon yesterday), and this morning they're still pretty frozen. I have about 7 more hours until I cook them, but I'm worried they won't be thawed all the way. Is submerging in room temp water a safe way to finish the process if that is the case?

Kristen W.


Kristen W. July 16, 2013
Gotcha, petitbleu, that makes sense. In this case the fillets were partially thawed already from the fridge, so the warm water method worked great. I think I intuitively would have stayed away from it if I had two large fillets still frozen solid.
petitbleu July 14, 2013
*Sorry, I meant to say that after 2 hours at between 40 and 140 degrees F, food is no longer safe to eat.
Oh, and I would add that I would not use the warm water method for thick cuts or for several pieces of meat (for instance, putting 5 pieces of frozen whatever into the same bowl). This will slow the thawing time dramatically. Of course, you could use a very large vessel or several smaller ones to get the same effect, but the warm water method is definitely for a few small cuts. Not a heap of small cuts thrown in the same bowl.
petitbleu July 14, 2013
Warm water is technically ideal for thin cuts or things that defrost quickly because you won't have the food sitting at room temp for as long. The idea is to get the food thawed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you have a piece of meat that may be thawed on the outside but still frozen on the inside. Bacteria can grow on the surface, but you're lulled into thinking this is okay because it's still not thawed yet. Warm water seems like it's not safe, but the principle of thawing food fast for safety is a sound one. It's unconventional thinking, and it's new, but you really just want to keep food out of the danger zone--after 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F for 2 hours, food is no longer safe to eat.
Joe B. July 13, 2013
you should always use cold running water (or keep in a bowl and change the water often if your worried about the bill)using warm water promotes bacteria growth
Greenstuff July 13, 2013
McGee doesn't mention fish, but he does say that warm water is fine for thin cuts of meat.
Rebecca V. July 13, 2013
Cold, running water is safer for defrosting any protein; water should not be standing and should not be warm.
Kristen W. July 12, 2013
Chef June, do you mean that cold running water is safer?
ChefJune July 12, 2013
Cold running water is better than warm water for defrosting fish.
And, tho I second perino's suggestion of the microwave, it does take some practice to be comfortable using it to defrost fish.
Kristen W. July 12, 2013
Thanks, all. I used the ziplock bag in lukewarm water method and it worked great.
Author Comment
This is almost as fast as microwave. Put each cod fillet in a small zip top sandwich bag and seal. Put baggies in saucepan filled with cold water. As soon as they're thawed, put in fridge. It's worked for me for a half century.
Author Comment
submerge the fillets in a bowl of milk. It will help to keep the moisture in the fish.
petitbleu July 11, 2013
Put them in a Ziploc in lukewarm to warm water. They'll thaw quickly and won't pose the food safety problem that just putting them on the counter does. This method is Harold McGee approved.
Kristen W. July 11, 2013
The microwave kind of makes me nervous!
pierino July 11, 2013
You could also finish defrosting in the microwave, but don't over do it.
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