KNOWING when fish is past its best may seem a tricky task – especially if your pick looks perfectly fine.

But with one simple trick, shoppers should be able to make the call immediately, avoiding any nasty surprises.

Emanuele Giustiniani, Head Chef at Seasons, in London’s Mayfair, advises cooks to smell their fish first.

If it has a clean, "icy smell" they're in for a treat – but if not, it’s probably best to avoid. 

Emanuele told The Sun Online: “One key way [to know if your seafood has gone off] is to smell – if it smells ‘fishy’, then that’s a sure fire way to tell if the seafood has gone off. 

"Good fish should have no smell at all, or a clean icy smell that often makes people think of the ocean."

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He added: "If fish smells ‘fishy’, this indicates that the fish is beyond peak freshness.

“Other ways include if you come across a closed clam or mussel in your dish, do not attempt to prize it open. 

“Not only is it incredibly hard, chances are it’s no good. As shellfish is often cooked alive, this usually means that the mussel or clam had met its merry maker before being boiled.”

The top chef and seafood expert said those who struggle to stomach seafood should "start with something simple" to help ease themselves in.

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Parents can also help their little ones by choosing something with "less fishy admin".

Emanuele advised: “Prawns are an easy go-to when ordering seafood, not only delicious but compliment a lot of dishes! 

"Cod is also a great option for seafood beginners thanks to its delicate, but sweet and buttery taste.”

When it comes to flavour pairings, it depends on the fish, he added.

On what to drink with fish and chips, Emanuele said: “If you’re after something alcoholic, opt for a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. 

“However, the Great British classic can also be paired with Great British tea – but make sure its black to get the best flavours.

“Fish is very versatile, but each fish is different and therefore has different flavours. 

“For instance, stronger flavoured fish such as salmon can take on a more versatile palette but richer fish such as sea bass should be treated delicately as to not mess with the flavour of the fish itself.”

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Emmanuel is offering a 'Shellmelier' service with TheFork across select London seafood restaurants until September 4 to help diners learn the best ways to work with seafood when dining in or out.

You can also find and book the capital's best restaurants offering 50% off food as part of TheFork Summer campaign. 

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