When we choose what kinds of fish to cook, today we have a great many varieties to choose from. If you want to eat fish from the Ocean or from a freshwater lake, river or stream it is probably available to you in some form, either fresh or frozen. In this section you will find over 80 varieties commonly found in U.S. markets. There will be a description along with a picture and suggested methods of cooking.
KINDS OF FISH
The arctic char is a member of the salmon family that is found in cold arctic waters and in some deep mountain lakes in Canada and Europe. They have many similarities with their cousins the salmon and the trout. Like the salmon they are born in freshwater and then they migrate to the sea. They return to freshwater at maturity to breed and unlike the salmon, after breeding they return to the sea. There are also some that are landlocked and spend their entire life in fresh water. The market size for arctic char is usually between two and four pounds but they can reach as much as 30 pounds. They are fished commercially and by sportsmen but the majority on the market in the United States have been raised in fish farms throughout Canada and Iceland. Its meat has a firm texture which ranges from pink to dark red and is rich in flavor and somewhat high in fat. It has a taste similar to trout and salmon but many think it is not quite as rich as salmon. The best way to cook arctic char is to bake, broil, grill, sauté or poach.
The black bass is the most popular type of bass found in the United States. A member of the freshwater sunfish family, the black bass is one of the favorites of sports fisherman all over North America. There are two species of black bass, the smallmouth and the largemouth. The largemouth has an olive green to black color on the back and faint vertical stripes. The smallmouth is browner in color and has red eyes.
Largemouth bassThe largemouth is the larger of the two black bass. It averages around 2 pounds but has been known to reach 25 pounds and 24 inches in length. It is known as one of the best freshwater fighting fish, said to attack anything that it thinks is alive. The fish is known by many different names depending on the region. Some of the common names are widemouth bass, bigmouth, black bass, bucketmouth, green bass, green trout, linesides, Oswego bass, Potter’s bass and Florida Bass. The large mouth is the state fish of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. It can be found in all of States but is more popular and more abundant in the southern states where they grow much larger. The largemouth will take on a slight muddy flavor if taken from muddy water yet they will remain mild and fine flavored if taken from clear water. The most popular ways of cooking are pan frying, deep frying, oven frying or broiling.
Because of its intolerance of pollution the smallmouth version is found in clear, cooler waters of central United States not nearly as widespread as the largemouth. Some of the regional names are smallmouth, bronze back, brown bass, brownie, smallie, and bronze bass. The smallmouth averages 1 pound and can grow up to 12 pounds. It is more brown than its cousin, the largemouth especially if found in darker water. If found in sandy areas the smallmouth takes on a lighter, almost yellowish color. Like the largemouth it will take on a slight muddy flavor if taken from muddy water yet it will remain mild and fine flavored if taken from clear water. The best ways for cooking are pan frying, deep frying, oven frying and broiling.
Sea bass are native to both oceans. Their size can vary from the small, common bass which averages 2 pounds, to the giant which is actually a grouper and can reach 600 pounds. The color is different with each species and can range from black to brick red. Some of the other popular varieties are the barred sand bass, which grows to 25 inches in length, the black sea bass, up to 7 pounds and the kelp bass, up to 14 pounds. They generally have a very firm, layered flesh that is mild in flavor. The most popular methods of cooking are Baking, broiling, or sautéing.
The striped bass is a saltwater fish which is native to both coasts and can be found in freshwater rivers and streams where it goes to spawn. It is a favorite fish by many sportsmen but it is protected by law from commercial fishing. Sometimes called squid hound, rockfish, greenhead, striper, linesider or pimpfish, the striped bass is olive green on top with a silver belly and has 7 or 8 dark horizontal stripes. It averages 2 to 50 pounds but has been known to reach 125 pounds and 6 feet in length. It is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island and South Carolina. It has a tender firm flesh that is mild, yet flavorful. The most popular ways of cooking are to bake, broil, panfry, oven fry, sauté, poach or grill.
The white bass, sometimes called sand bass, is a freshwater fish found in deep lakes and rivers throughout the Midwest. It is silver or yellowish in color with 7 dark, horizontal streaks. The average weight of the white bass is 1 to 2 pounds but they can grow to 4 pounds and over 18 inches in length. The white bass is the state fish of Oklahoma. It is a moderately fat fish with a fairly fishy taste. The most popular ways of cooking are to sauté, Pan Fry, Oven fry or bake
BASS, WHITE SEA
The white sea bass, which is actually a member of the saltwater croaker family, is found on the west coast from Alaska to California. It is a schooling fish important to both sport and commercial fishing. Closely resembling the Atlantic weakfish, the white sea bass has a steel blue back with a silver belly. It has been known to grow to 83 pounds and 5 feet in length. Its meat is mild in flavor and very low in fat. The best ways of cooking are sautéing, pan frying, oven frying or broil.
A fairly new fish on the U.S market, the barramundi is found in both fresh and saltwater in the area from the Persian Gulf to Australia. Another common name for the barramundi is Asian sea bass but it is also found under the names giant perch, giant sea perch and Australian sea bass. It is a popular fish both for sportsman and for commercial fisheries. Most of the fish found on the market is from fish farms with Indonesia being the largest exporter. The United States has also gotten into raising the barramundi in fish farms with production in Massachusetts and Florida. The barramundi is a demersal fish which means it gets its food from the bottom or near the bottom. Bottom feeding fish usually have much less oil than fish that feed from open water. It is a strong fighting fish that has been known to reach 80 pounds and 4 feet in length. It is a good fish for farm raising because it grows fast and can reach its market size of about 2 pounds in about 1 year. Smaller fish are known to be better eating than large ones. The barramundi has a pearly-pink flesh that turns white after cooking. It is mild in flavor with a flaky flesh. The best way to cook barramundi is to deep fry, pan fry, sauté, oven fry or bake.
Sometimes called snapping mackerel, tailor, fatback or skipjack, the bluefish is found in warm coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod to Argentina. In the winter months they are found in large quantities off the coast of Florida. As the weather warms many, but not all, migrate north as far as Cape Cod. They are a pelagic fish, which means they live near the surface of the water. A young bluefish is called a snapper and a mature one is called a chopper. These are names given because of their sharp clicking teeth and tremendous appetite, attacking even humans. The bluefish frequently weighs 10 pounds and has been known to reach 27 pounds and 3 ½ feet in length. It has a tender, firm flesh that is moderate in fat with a distinctive flavor. After cooking the meat remains moist. The best way to cook bluefish is to bake, broil or oven fry.
The bonito can be found on the east coast from Nova Scotia to Argentina and on the west coast from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California. Sometimes called Skipjack or Horse Mackerel, the Bonito is dark blue on the back and has a white belly with horizontal stripes that slant upward toward the tail. It is a very fast, strong swimmer often reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour. It’s average weight is from 4 to 6 pounds but it can reach 18 pounds and 40 inches in length. It has a very distinctive flavor with a rather chewy, layered flesh. The bonito is often substituted for skipjack tuna but can’t be sold as tuna. After cooking it has a dark color with low moisture content. The best way to cook bonito is to bake, broil or grill.
The buffalo is a freshwater, carp like fish belonging to the sucker family and found mostly in the mid western states. Many people believe it gets its name because of the hump on its back which resembles the four-legged buffalo. It is most abundant in Minnesota. There are three main varieties, the big mouth, the small mouth and the black buffalo fish. It ranges in color from greenish gold to olive black in color and can grow to 50 pounds and over 36 inches in length. It is mainly found in shallow, slow- moving rivers and streams and survives well in muddy or cloudy water. It can be a mild flavored fish if taken from clear waters but can take on a muddy taste if taken from dirty water. It has a soft flesh with a moderate fat content. The best way to cook is to bake, broil, poach or steam.
The Bullhead is a freshwater scavenger fish found throughout the Midwest in lakes and rivers. It is a small member of the catfish family seldom reaching 12 inches in length. Its meat is reddish in color, not white like the other catfish. Sometimes called horned pout, the bullhead can range in color from yellowish to dark brown or black. If caught in clear water the bullhead has a mild flavor but it can take on a muddy taste if taken from dirty water. Its firm meat is low in fat. The best way to cook bullhead is to pan fry, deep fry or broil.
The burbot is the only freshwater member of the cod family found in North America. Found generally in deep, cool, lakes, rivers and reservoirs north of Iowa, the burbot or eelpout as it is sometimes called, has been mistakenly considered a worthless fish by some people. Many believe the meat of the burbot is similar to the taste of lobster therefore it is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s lobster”. Its body is shaped similar to that of an eel with a head resembling a catfish with mottled green and black skin resembling a reptile. The largest burbot on record was over 24 pounds and 40 inches in length. Its firm textured flesh is distinctive in flavor. The best way to cook burbot is to bake, broil, poach, steam or deep fry.
The Butterfish is a family of fish found on the west coast from British Columbia to Baja California and on the east coast from Nova Scotia to the shores of North Carolina. Resembling the Florida pompano, the butterfish is mistakenly called pacific pompano or golden pompano on the west coast. On the east coast it can be found under the name dollarfish, pumpkinseed, shiner, skipjack or harvest fish. The butterfish is a thin fish with a somewhat oval shape. It has a bluish or gray back and a silver belly. It averages 8 inches in length but it can grow to 12 inches and 1 ½ pounds. It has a tender flakey flesh and is mild in flavor. After cooking it remains moist with a little color. The best way to cook butterfish is to bake, pan fry or poach
The carp is a freshwater member of the minnow family found in muddy rivers and shallow lakes in all parts of the United States. Known as German carp or common carp, the carp has 3 main varieties, the scaled carp which has a full complement of scales, the mirror carp, with just a few scales and the leather carp with no scales at all. The average size is from 5 to 10 pounds and 15 to 28 inches in length but they have been known to reach 60 pounds and 40 inches in length. They have a yellow to olive color if taken from muddy water and a silver color if taken from clear water. They are not prized by anglers because of their muddy taste but if they are soaked in saltwater for a few hours before cooking the meat can be quite good. It is often used for smoking. They have a relatively firm flesh. The best way to cook is to bake, broil, poach or oven fry.
The catfish is a scavenger fish that is found in freshwater lakes and rivers throughout the United States and the saltwater of the Atlantic Ocean. In freshwater they can be found in clear lakes, rivers and streams but they seem to prefer shallow, slow moving water. They can do very well in muddy water or water with little oxygen. There are over 37 different species of catfish. They are extremely popular in the southern regions of the United States and are grown commercially in fish farms to keep up with the huge demand. The blue catfish and the channel catfish are the most popular of which the blue catfish is the largest and has been known to reach 100 pounds. Both the channel and the blue catfish are plentiful in the wild and are sought by anglers for both food and sport. They are also the two varieties most widely farmed. The mad toms and bullheads seldom reach 12 inches in length. Some of the popular varieties of catfish are the bullhead, the fiddler cat, mad toms, channel cats, blue catfish, white catfish and sea catfish. The sea catfish is an edible fish but is not very popular as a quality food fish. The catfish is the state fish of Iowa and Missouri and has been given the name of state commercial fish in Tennessee. Catfish come in a variety of colors ranging from muddy yellow to bluish and have barbells resembling the whiskers of a cat on their upper and lower lip. They use their barbells for locating food, and can create a wasp like sting if provoked. They can actually taste their food through their barbells. The catfish are scale less fish with a tender flesh. They are mild in flavor with a moderate fat content. The best way to cook is to bake, broil, sauté, oven fry, poach or steam.
A fairly new entry into the U.S fish market, the cobia is found in warm waters throughout the world and in U.S. waters on the Atlantic coast. It has a slim body with a flat head and a protruding lower jaw. It is a dark brown with a white belly and a dark stripe from the eye to the tail. It has a smooth skin with small scales and has been known to reach 150 pounds and 78 inches in length. Cobia can be found under many regional names with some of the more common ones being black kingfish, ling and lemon fish. Because of their size and great tasting meat they are prized by sports fisherman. They do not travel in large schools so their commercial importance isn’t as great. Because of this, the majority of cobia on the market is farmed in Asia, Panama, Mexico and recently the United States. It can grow to over 10 pounds in the first year which makes its future in fish farms very promising. Cobia meat is light tan and turns snow white with cooking. It has a rich sweet flavor with a taste compared to mahi mahi and an oil content compared to salmon. The best way to prepare cobia is to bake, broil, grill, and sauté or poach.
The cod is a demersal fish, which means it lives towards the bottom of the ocean and is a bottom feeder. Small cod, under 2 ½ pounds, are sometimes split and marketed under the name of scrod. The Atlantic cod can be found from Virginia to the arctic regions and can vary in color from green to gray with reddish or brown tints. The Pacific version varies from brown to gray and can be found from California to North Alaska. The Atlantic cod is the largest type and has been said to reach 200 pounds, however the average size is from 6 to 20 pounds. The Cod can be distinguished by 2 fins on the back and 1 barbell on the lower chin. The Pacific cod has a soft flesh and the Atlantic cod has a firm flesh. All Cod are mild in flavor and have a layered flesh. The best way to cook cod is to bake, broil, steam, poach, oven fry or deep fry.
The Crappie is a thin elliptical shaped pan fish with two major varieties, white crappies and black crappies. They are members of the freshwater sunfish family and can be found throughout the central United States. The Black version which is black with green blotches, is more predominate in the northern states and the white crappie which is greenish or silvery with faint vertical bars is found mostly in the south. Both average 7- 12 inches in length and have been known to reach 5 pounds. In different areas the black crappie is known as calico bass, paper mouth, tin mouth, grass bass, bitter head or bachelor perch. A few regional names for white crappies are strawberry bass, ring crappies, pale crappies or lamplighter. They are both mild flavored fish with a low fat content. The crappies meat will be firmer if taken from cold water. The most common ways of cooking are to pan fry, deep fry, oven fry or bake.
The Atlantic croaker is most abundant in temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean where it can be found from Massachusetts to Argentina. It is a large family of fish including such members as the Texas croaker, the yellowtail and the most common, the golden croaker. Some regional names for the Atlantic croaker are roncadina, spot fin, hardhead, king billies and grumblers. The croaker is a very important fish commercially with millions of pounds harvested every year. The summer months are spent in coastal waters and in the fall they travel to deeper water to breed. The Atlantic croaker has gold vertical bars on gray sides and averages 1 to 4 pounds and 12 inches in length but has been known to reach 9 pounds. The Croaker has small barbells under its chin that it uses to find food on the bottom of the ocean. It receives its name from the ability to make a low croaking noise by contracting muscles around its air bladder. It has a tender flesh with a mild sweet flavor. Croaker meat should not be eaten raw. The best way to cook croaker is to sauté, pan fry, oven fry or broil.
The cusk or tusk is a saltwater cod-like fish found on the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to the arctic region. It has a brownish green or yellowish back with a lighter colored belly. It is similar in shape to the hake or whiting having a long body and a back fin running the full length of the fish. The cusk is sometimes found under the name of brismak, torsk or moonfish. It’s a slow swimmer and a bottom feeder and has been known to grow to 27 pounds and 3 ½ feet in length but it averages 1 to 4 pounds. It is a lean fish with a mild, sweet flavor. The best way to cook cusk is to bake, broil, deep fry, poach or steam.
The drum is a saltwater member of the croaker family and gets its name because of its ability to make a drumming or croaking sound by vibrating its air bladder. This is noticed more during mating season so it is believed that the croaking is a mating call. They are found in warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod to Mexico. There are many varieties of drum and they go by names such as red drum, redfish, channel bass, spot tail, oyster cracker, drum fish, striped drum, sea drum, puppy drum, gray drum, oyster drum, big drum and black drum. The red drum, or redfish, is one of Florida’s most popular sport fish. The red drum is reddish in color and has a black spot near its tail. The black drum is the largest of the drum and can reach 113 pounds. Its color ranges from grayish to black and has very powerful teeth and jaws that is used for crushing oysters and other shellfish. Puppy drum is a name given by some southern restaurants for small black drum. The drum is a lean fish with moderate flavor. If over 15 pounds drums meat tends to be tough. The best way to prepare drum is to sauté, pan fry, oven fry, bake or broil
The eel is a snakelike fish with a tubular body and an average length of 2 to 3 feet. The saltwater or conger eel which is found on the Atlantic coast has no scales while the American eel, the freshwater version, is covered with very fine scales. The eel is not as popular as a food fish in the United States as it is in Europe where it is considered a delicacy. Its meat like flesh is very firm in texture and has a distinctive flavor with a high fat content. Saute, Pan Fry, Poach or Bake
Finnan Haddie is a very popular dish in Scandinavian and Finnish cooking, especially during the holiday season. The truth is, it was actually first made by the Scottish in the seventeenth century. Finnan haddie is a piece of raw fish, usually haddock or cod , that is cold smoked ,only slightly, to give the raw fish a smoky flavor. When this is done it takes on a golden brown color on the outside with a white middle. It has a rich smoky flavor and is low in fat. The traditional way to cook finnan haddie is to poach it in milk but it can also be baked or steamed.
The flounder is a large family of flatfish which includes such members as the sole and the halibut. They have a shape similar to an oblong pancake with both of their eyes on one side. Their topside has a dark color, usually brown or dark gray and their belly side is an off white. Because of their similarities to sole many American flounders are sold under the name of sole. The following are some of the more popular species of flounder found in the United States. From the Pacific coast come the arrow tooth flounder and the starry flounder. From the Atlantic coast we get black back flounder, four spot flounder, summer flounder, (also called fluke or summer fluke,) winter flounder,(sometimes called lemon sole), witch flounder and yellowtail flounder. The summer flounder is considered to be the best eating of the American flounder. No matter what name they go under, flounder is a good eating fish and is of major importance to the fishing industry. Their very flaky, firm flesh is very mild in flavor and remains moist after cooking. The best way to prepare flounder is to Broil Poach, Bake, Oven fry or Pan Fry .
A family of fish from the Pacific Ocean, greenling is sometimes referred to as rock trout or tommy cod and are commercially known as sea trout. Their average size is from 2 to 4 pounds and about 21 inches in length but the ling cod, which is a member of the greenling family, can grow to 5 feet and over 80 pounds. The ling cod and the kelp greenling are the two most popular on the market. They are found in shallow coastal waters of the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California and range in color from brown to blue or green with a lighter belly and have the ability to change color according to their surroundings. The males generally are brighter in color than the females. The greenling is a good eating fish and is of importance to the fishing industry. The kelp greenling is of importance to sport fishing but not as much for commercial fishing. They have a delicate flavor and are low in fat. Their very flaky, firm flesh is very mild in flavor and remains moist after cooking. The best way to prepare greenling is to sauté, pan fry, broil, deep fry, oven fry, poach or steam.
The grouper is a member of the sea bass family found in warm water of the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil. The most common grouper on the market today is the red grouper with the gag and the scamp also being very popular. Most groupers mature as females at about 3 years of age. After that they have the ability to change from female to male as they grow. The life expectancy of a grouper is about 25 years. It has a shape similar to the pacific rockfish and some species, such as the Nassau grouper, have the ability to change color up to 8 times in a matter of minutes. Grouper are commonly found in the 10 pound range and often go over 100 pounds. They can be found under such names as calico, coney, gag, jewfish, polka dot and Nassau grouper. They are important to both sport and commercial fishermen especially in the Gulf of Mexico. Farming grouper is starting to get more popular in the far-east and in Australia. Groupers have a chewy flesh that is very mild in flavor and low in fat. After cooking it will have a pale tint and will remain moist. The most popular ways of cooking grouper are to Bake Broil, Saute, Oven fry, Pan Fry, grill or poach
The haddock is a member of the cod family found in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to Virginia. It lives on the ocean floor in deep water and is very important to commercial fishermen. It has the same basic shape as the other cod but can be distinguished by a smaller mouth and a dark spot above the breast fin. Haddock are purplish in color above with a lighter belly and can also be recognized by the black line that runs horizontally the length of the fish. They average about 3 pounds but can grow to 37 pounds and 44 inches in length. Small haddock are usually split down the middle or filleted and marketed as scrod. Haddock have a chewy layered flesh that is very mild in flavor and low in fat. The best way to cook haddock is to bake, broil, oven fry, steam, pan fry sauté or poach.
Hake or whiting, as it is sometimes called, is a small member of the cod family and can be found on the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to North Carolina. The red hake and white hake are true hake but the silver hake which is the type normally called whiting belongs to a different family. A fairly inexpensive fish because of its abundance, the whiting is found as a main ingredient in many types of frozen fish sticks and fillets. It has a brown back with silver tinges and a silver belly. The hake has a back fin running the full length of the fish’s body and it averages 1 to 8 pounds but can reach 60 pounds and 4 feet in length and have a lifespan of about 14 years. True hake do not freeze as well as most fish. They have a tendency to turn mushy. It has a soft, flaky flesh that is somewhat mild in flavor and moderately fat. After cooking it will have a pale color and remain very moist. The best way to cook hake is to Deep fry, Pan fry, Poach or bake
Known as “The king of the flatfish”, the halibut is the largest member of the flatfish family reaching as much as 700 pounds and 9 feet in length. Halibut is very important to both sport and commercial fishing. Because of this it is a large contributor to Alaska tourism. It starts out its life swimming like many other fish but at about 6 months one eye merges to the other side and it starts to take the shape of a flatfish. It is at this time that the side with the eyes turns dark and the other side stays white. It is found in the cold waters of both coasts but the Atlantic halibut, which is also the largest in size, is becoming scarce and could be put on the endangered species list. The Atlantic halibut is found north of New Jersey. In the Pacific Ocean it can be found from California to Japan. Sometimes called albato, the halibut is brown on the topside with a white belly and is one of the choicest ocean fish. It has a very mild, chewy, layered flesh that is very low in fat. It remains white and very moist after cooking. The best way to cook halibut is to bake, broil, grill, oven fry, poach, sauté or steam
The herring is a large family of fish found in the cold waters of both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. On the west coast they are found from Alaska to California and on the east coast they are found from New Found land to North Carolina. The herring is said to be the most abundant fish in the world and travels in very large schools. Herring is a very boney fish and is a prime candidate for smoking or pickling and the young herring are sold as sardines which are its most common form found in the United States. Sometimes called sea herring or pilchard, the herring is a torpedo shaped fish with a blue- green back, silver sides and a sharply forked tail. The most common market size is from 5 to 9 inches but they can grow up to 1.5 pounds and 14 to 18 inches in length. They can live to about 20 years old. Because of their very rich, oily meat, they are most often salted, pickled or smoked. The herring’s tender, flaky flesh has a distinctive flavor and is high in fat content and remains very moist after cooking. The best way to cook herring is to Oven fry, Pan fry or poach
Hoki is a saltwater fish from the hake family closely related to the cod. It can be found in the waters of New Zealand and Australia in water up to 3300 feet deep. It is commonly marketed under the name New Zealand Whiting and can also be found under the names of grenadiers, blue hake, whiptail or whiptail hake. They reproduce in large quantities and are fast growing, making them important fish commercially. The average hoki is 3 to 4 pounds but they can grow to 15 pounds and 47 inches in length. They are blue-green to silver in color. The hoki fillet is white in color and has a darker lateral line. Behind this line is an area of fat. In the United States this is often removed because of the strong flavor. When this is done it makes the fillet mild in flavor and is then used in many fast food restaurants as breaded fish sticks or patties. Hoki meat is usually sold frozen because it does not hold up very well. It has a dense white flesh that is high in omega 3 and is mild and slightly sweet in flavor. The best way to cook hoki is to Bake, Broil, Deep fry, Pan fry or Poach.
Although this fish has some similarities in appearance to the mackerel, it is actually a member of the jack family, closely related to the Florida pompano. It is an abundant fish and has a similar shape as the mackerel with a greenish -blue back, silver sides and a white belly. It can be found on the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California and has been known to grow to 5 pounds and 32 inches in length. Less than 20 inches is the most common market size. Also known as California jack mackerel, the jack mackerel is most often found canned and can be substituted in recipes calling for salmon or tuna. It has a dark colored meat with a distinctive flavor. The jack mackerel is most often found canned and when canned, it has a taste similar to sardines. The best way to cook jack mackerel is to Bake, Broil, Pan fry or Poach
The ling is a long slender fish found in the deep cold waters of the North Atlantic. It has a broad, slightly flattened head with a chocolate brown back and a dark horizontal stripe running almost the entire length of the fish. It is a fish that is prized by commercial fishermen and averages 20-30 pounds but can reach 103 pounds and 71 inches in length. The ling can also be found under the names cobia, lemon fish ling cod and sergeant fish. Ling has a firm, white meat that is mild in flavor and low in fat. Bake, Broil, Pan fry or Oven fry
The mackerel is a large abundant family of fish closely related to the tuna and found in the temperate and tropical waters of both oceans. The Pacific mackerel can be found from Alaska to Mexico and the Atlantic version is found from Labrador to Brazil. Known as the wolves of the sea the mackerel pursues its prey at speeds up to 50 miles per hour and some have the ability to jump as high as 20 feet out of the water. The average weight of the mackerel is 2 pounds but the king mackerel, sometimes called kingfish can reach 100 pounds and is a popular sports fish. The mackerel is a torpedo shaped fish with a blue back that has 25 to 30 dark vertical stripes and lighter colored sides and belly. Some of the different types of mackerel are the Atlantic, the chub, the king, the Pacific, the Spanish and the cero. Of these the Spanish mackerel is the only one found on both coasts. In different areas mackerel can be found under the names of Boston mackerel, spotted mackerel, sierra, spike, tinker and cavalla. The mackerel has a soft, flaky meat with a distinctive rich, fishy flavor that is high in fat, rich in omega 3 fatty acids and remains very moist after cooking. The best way to cook mackerel is to bake, poach or broil.
Mahi mahi is a Hawaiian name given to the dolphin fish. Not to be confused with the dolphin that is a mammal, this fish can be found in tropical waters throughout the world. There are two types of dolphin fish that are sold as mahi mahi, the common dolphin fish and the pompano dolphin fish. The mahi mahi does not live a very long life, 4 to 5 years is tops. It averages 2 to 5 pounds but can grow to 76 pounds and 6 feet in length but fish over 40 pounds are rare. It is one of the world’s fastest swimmers reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour. Mahi mahi is very popular for both sport and commercial fishing and are featured in restaurants world wide. Alive, it is a very colorful fish with a blue green back and a light belly with tinges of gold, but these colors fade when the fish dies. Mahi mahi has a very firm flaky meat with a distinctive delicate, somewhat sweet flavor and a moderate fat content. Its meat is rather pink in color and remains fairly moist after cooking. The best way of cooking mahi mahi is to bake, broil, grill, deep fry, pan fry or poach.
The marlin is considered by many to be the top of the line when it comes to sport fishing. They can be found in tropical and temperate waters all over the world and spend most of their life far out to sea. There are 4 types of marlin, the Pacific blue, the Atlantic blue, the black and the striped. Of the different types the blue Pacific marlin is the largest having once weighed in at 1800 pounds and over 16 feet in length. The female is the larger of the marlins commonly found at 1200 pounds where the males are more common at 350 pounds. They are a long fish with a sharp pointed bill that makes up about one third of their total length. The marlins are cobalt-blue on the back and silvery-white on the belly. Tremendous swimmers, they can reach speeds of over 60 miles per hour. Marlin meat is dark in color with a purple tinge. It is a slightly chewy fish that is mild in flavor with a moderate fat content. The best way to cook marlin is to bake, broil, poach or grill.
A member of a family of fish called anglers; the monkfish is widely considered one of the ugliest fish in the sea. It can grow to 50 pounds and 4 feet in length and has a taste similar to cod and a texture similar to lobster. The monkfish has a huge mouth with a somewhat flattened body that is lacking scales. It has a long tube like tail that is the only edible section of the fish. The tail is boneless and has a texture and taste similar to scallops or lobster. Also known as anglerfish, goosefish, ail mouth, frogfish and sea devil, the monkfish can be found on the Atlantic coast from New Found land to Brazil. The monkfish has a firm, chewy meat that has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and is low in fat. The best way to cook monkfish is to Saute, Bake, Broil, Deep fry, Steam or Poach.
Mullets can be found in warm coastal waters throughout the world and occasionally enter freshwater streams. They travel in schools and are commercially important especially in the Florida area. The mullet is a silvery fish with a gray to greenback and can grow to 14 pounds and 3 feet in length. It comes in 6 varieties, the jumping mullet, the black mullet, the sand mullet, the white mullet, the silver and the striped mullet. Of these the black mullet and the striped mullet are the most important from the Florida area. Its tender flesh varies from mild to muddy tasting depending on the type and area from which it comes. If taken from clear water it can have a somewhat sweet, nutty flavor. It has a high fat content and is commonly found smoked. The best way to cook mullet is to Pan fry, Broil, Oven fry, Saute or Bake.
A large member of the freshwater pike family, the muskellunge averages 15 pounds and can grow to 69 pounds and 5 feet in length. It is the largest of the pike family and closely resembles the northern pike and the pickerel. The northern pike and the muskellunge are so similar in appearance that many anglers confuse them. One reliable way to tell them apart is by the sensory pores on the underside of their jaw. The muskellunge will have six or more pores on each side and the northern pike will have five or less. The muskellunge is a long, tubular fish with a flat head and large duckbill like jaws with many very sharp teeth. It has dark vertical bars over a greenish brown or silvery body. The muskellunge is known as the “barracuda of freshwater fish”. It will attack its prey voraciously, sometimes even consuming ducks. It is found in deep cold water of the great lakes region and the upper Mississippi and is the state fish of Wisconsin. Muskellunge also go by the name of muskie, great pike, lunge, and tiger pike. It has a firm flesh that is fairly mild in flavor with a moderate fat content. The best way to cook muskellunge is to Pan fry, bake, broil or poach
This freshwater member of the pike family is a popular game fish of northern United States and Canada. It is found in all types of water and prefers vegetation for hiding while hunting its food. It is the state fish of North Dakota. The northern is an elongated fish with a duckbill shaped head and very many sharp teeth. It is very similar to the muskellunge in appearance, habits and taste. It is greenish to yellowish in color with pale spots and averages 3 pounds and 15-38 inches in length but has reached 46 pounds and 52 inches in length. It also goes by the names of , chain sides, common pike, snake, great lakes pike and the most common, just plain northern. The northern is a good tasting fish but is not sought after for food because of the many bones which can be hard to remove, especially in smaller fish. Its firm flesh is low in fat with a mild fishy taste. The best way to cook northern pike is to pan fry, deep fry, broil or bake.
Sometimes called deep sea perch, red roughy or pacific golden roughy, the orange roughy is caught in the seas off New Zealand sometimes at depths of up to 3300 feet. It has a bright brick red skin that fades to a yellowish red after the fish dies. The roughy has a comparatively large head and averages 3 ½ pounds and 18 to 22 inches in length but can grow to 15 pounds. It also has a very long lifespan, living up to 149 years. Because of its slow maturity and the fact that they have been very important commercially they are in danger of over fishing. There are some retailers that refuse to sell orange roughy because of the danger of it being over fished. The orange roughy has been compared in taste to petrale sole. It is usually sold as skinned fillets, either fresh or frozen. Compared to other fish orange roughy is rather low in omega-3 fatty acids. Sold primarily in fillet form, its snow white meat is very mild in flavor and low in fat. The best way to cook orange roughy is to bake, broil, deep fry, pan fry, sauté, poach or steam.
The ocean perch is a family of fish closely related to the Pacific rockfish. The ocean perch of the Atlantic are not actually perch. They are a member of the rockfish family. On the Atlantic coast these fish are sometimes sold as redfish because of its bright red color, but it should not be confused with the redfish of the gulf area which is actually a member of the drum family. The Atlantic perch (rockfish) can be found from Maine to Labrador. Known as long jaw rockfish in the Pacific, it can be found in cold water from Alaska to southern California in water up to 1200 feet deep. It has a color that ranges from grayish or brownish red to bright orange with lighter colored sides and belly and can grow to 13 pounds and 24 inches in length. It has a firm texture and is low in fat. It can have a mild to fishy taste depending on where is caught. The best way to cook ocean perch is to pan fry, oven fry, broil or sauté.
A member of the freshwater perch family, the yellow perch is a first cousin to the walleye pike, the sauger and the darters. There are 19 species of perch and they seldom reach over 14 inches in length. They are a very prolific fish that can be found mainly in the eastern half of the United States, going under such names as convict, common perch, striped perch and raccoon. Yellow perch are golden yellow in color with 6 to 9 greenish black vertical bars and can grow to 3 ½ pounds and 21 inches in length. Its tender flaky meat is fairly mild in flavor and low in fat. To cook, pan fry, deep fry, oven fry or bake.
The pickerel has two varieties, the American pickerel and the chain pickerel. The American comes in two types, the red fin and the grass pickerel. They are the smallest member of the freshwater pike family with an average weight under 2 pounds. The red fin has a red or orange tint to it. Other than that the pickerel is similar in appearance to its cousins the muskellunge and the northern pike. The pickerel is a mild tasting fish with a low fat content but because of its many small bones it is not highly rated. The best way to cook pickerel is to bake, pan fry, deep fry or broil.
Often referred to as green cod, Boston Bluefish, Blue Cod, Blue Snapper, Coalfish, Coley or Saithe the Pollack is a member of the cod family found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Virginia. It has a brownish green back with a Smokey grey or yellowish belly and averages 4 to 12 pounds and 2 to 3 feet in length but has been known to reach 46 pounds. The Pollack is a fast growing fish but usually does not live more than 15 years. Like its cousin the cod, it is a bottom feeding fish. The Pollack is abundant fish and is commercially important being used widely in the production of fish sticks and other breaded products. It is also one of the most common used fish when making artificial crab meat. It has a tender, white flaky meat that is fairly strong flavored compared to other whitefish. The best ways to cook Atlantic Pollack is to Deep fry, Bake, Broil, Pan fry, Steam or Poach
The walleyed Pollock is a member of the cod family and is closely related to the Atlantic Pollack both in appearance and size with larger eyes being the major distinguishing factor. Abundant in the north Pacific, the walleyed Pollock is better tasting than its Atlantic cousins and can be found under such names as silver cod, Alaska walleye, saithe, queddy salmon or sea salmon. It has an olive green to brown back with silver sides and a white belly. Also known as Alaskan Pollock It is the world’s second most important fish in terms of commercial tonnage. In the 1990’s it reached its peak with over six million tons marketed. The Pollock is a fast growing fish and produces many young which helps it with stand the great fishing pressure. The quality of the Alaskan Pollock is better than its cousin, the Atlantic Pollack. It has a whiter meat that is milder in flavor and less oily. It’s is the primary fish used in fast food chains such as McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Arby’s, Long John Silver’s and Subway. It is also a primary ingredient when making imitation crab meat. Its meat is firm and flaky with a mild flavor and a low fat content and remains moist after cooking with a light tint of color. The best ways to cook Pollock is to Bake Broil, Saute, Pan fry or Oven fry
It can be called butterfish, cobbler fish, permit or palmetto. No matter what name you give it, the Florida pompano is considered one of the best tasting fish in the ocean. It is a very popular fish in the Florida area both commercially and for sports fishing. Found in the warm waters of the south Atlantic from Cape Cod to Brazil, the pompano should not be confused with the California pompano which is actually a member of the butterfish family and not a pompano at all. It is a fast growing fish, reaching 8-12 inches in its first year and has a life expectancy of 3 to 4 years. It has a silvery body, metallic blue above and golden yellow below with a deeply forked tail and averages 1 ½ to 3 pounds. The pompano has been known to reach 9 pounds and 26 inches in length. It is a fairly expensive fish because of high demand and commercial fishing restrictions. The pompano has a flesh that is very flakey, very firm, and fairly high in fat and has a delicious rich flavor. It remains moist with a pearly white color after cooking. The best way to cook pompano is to Broil, Bake, Saute, Pan fry or Oven fry.
A small fish known as the saltwater pan fish, the porgy or scup which it is commonly called is very popular with sport and commercial fishermen along the Atlantic coast from Maine to South Carolina. The name “porgy” comes from an American Indian word for “fertilizer”, a common use for the fish because of its abundance in early America. It has a silver blue back with dull silver sides and 12 to 15 faint vertical stripes. The porgy averages 1 to 2 pounds and 12 to 14 inches in length but can grow to 3 or 4 pounds. They can live up to 20 years. Some of the regional names it can be found under are, scup, maidens, fair maidens, convict, paugy, prison fish sargo and sea bream. The porgies tender, flakey meat is mild in flavor and moderate in fat content. They have many bones and are difficult to fillet, therefore they are commonly sold whole. The best way to cook porgy is to Saute, Bake, Pan fry, Deep fry or Steam.
A close relative of the ocean perch, the rockfish is a large family of fish from the Pacific Ocean found from California to Alaska. There are over 69 varieties of rockfish in the Pacific Ocean and about as many different colors ranging from black to bright orange. In the Atlantic Ocean there are only 4 varieties. Rockfish average from 3 to 4 pounds and 18 inches in length but have been known to grow to 28 pounds. The Pacific rockfish is a very important fish commercially and can be found in water up to 9800 feet deep. Some of the best eating varieties are the orange rockfish, the yellowtail, the boccacio the rasphead and the red rockfish, which is also called yellow eye. The yellow eye rockfish is sometimes mistakenly sold as red snapper. It is one of the most popular of the rockfish with both sport and commercial fishermen because of its size, taste and ease of filleting. Rockfish are one of the longest living fish in the sea, often lasting over 100 years. Many varieties of rockfish have been over fished, therefore tighter fishing restrictions have been placed on them. The meat from rockfish has a firm, layered texture that is low in fat and fairly mild in flavor. The best way to cook rockfish is to sauté, pan fry, oven fry, deep fry, bake, broil or poach.
Because of its long slender body, somewhat resembling a cod the sablefish is sometimes called Alaska cod or black cod although it is not a member of the cod family. It is a bottom feeding fish found in the Pacific from Alaska to northern California mostly in the Bering Sea. Sablefish are black or dark green in color with a slightly lighter belly and average 8 pounds and 30 inches in length and can grow to 56 pounds and 40 inches. Their meat is creamy white. Because of its buttery, melting flesh it is sometimes called butterfish and is often smoked and sold as smoked sable. Its flavor and texture is often compared to the expensive Chilean sea bass but the sablefish is much more plentiful. The sablefish has a very soft flesh that is mild in flavor and high in fat. The best way to cook sablefish is to bake, broil, steam or poach.
The Atlantic salmon can be found on the east and west coast and in freshwater lakes and streams. There is also Atlantic salmon in some lakes that do not empty into the ocean. These are known as landlocked salmon and sometimes called ouananiche. The landlocked salmon is the state fish of Maine. Generally taken from saltwater in the Atlantic from Maine to Labrador the Atlantic salmon goes to freshwater streams to spawn just like its pacific cousins. The Atlantic salmon does not need saltwater to survive. Although the Atlantic salmon is native to the Atlantic ocean is has recently been introduced to the Pacific Ocean and on both coasts it is very popular with sport fishing. Due to high demand commercial farming has become a big business. Commercial fishing for Atlantic salmon is almost non-existent. More than 95 percent of it found on the market has been raised in fish farms. Chili is one of the biggest suppliers of farm raised Atlantic salmon to the United States. The Atlantic salmon has a steel blue back and silver sides with many dark, cross shaped spots that have light blue halos. Also known as silver salmon, landlocked salmon, bay salmon, Sebago and Kennebec salmon, the Atlantic salmon averages 10 pounds and 30 inches in length and has been known to reach 79 pounds. It has a firm, layered meat that is rich in flavor and very high in fat and remains moist after cooking. The best ways of cooking Atlantic salmon is to bake, broil, poach or grill. SALMON, CHUM The chum salmon is one of the larger members of the salmon family averaging 10 pounds and 3 feet in length and sometimes reaching up to 40 pounds. It has a metallic blue back with sparsely speckled sides and a silver belly. It is abundant north of Oregon in the Pacific Ocean and can be found in freshwater streams where it goes to spawn. The meat of the chum salmon has a light pink color and has less oil than the other types of salmon. The least prized of the salmons they are not as important commercially as other types of salmon. The chum salmon also goes by the names of calico, keta, lekai, hayo and dog salmon and is often marketed as silverbrite salmon. It has a firm layered flesh that is rich in flavor and relatively high in fat content and remains moist after cooking. The best ways to cook chum salmon is to bake, broil or poach.
One of the world’s most popular fish, the king or chinook salmon is the largest of the salmon family and can be found in the Pacific from Monterey to Alaska and in freshwater streams where it goes to spawn. They have also been planted successfully in the great lakes. It is the largest of the pacific salmon and is the state fish of Alaska and Oregon. It has a bluish green back and silver sides with small dark spots and averages 20 pounds but has been known to grow to 125 pounds and 58 inches in length. The color of the king salmons meat ranges from deep salmon to white. About 1 in 20 king salmon caught has white meat instead of red. Marketed as ivory king, the white meat salmon is considered by many to be better tasting than its red meat counter part. The king salmon can be found under such names as squinnat, tula, tyee, spring salmon and chinook salmon. It is prized by both sport and commercial fishermen because of its size and high nutritional value, being high in omega-3 fatty acids. King salmon is also one of the salmon that are farmed. New Zealand is the number one exporter of farmed king salmon with Chili coming in second. Its flakey meat is quite oily and has a rich distinctive flavor that remains moist after cooking. The best way to cook king salmon is to bake, broil, poach, steam, deep fry, pan fry or grill.
The pink salmon is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon averaging only 3 to 6 pounds but it has been known to reach 30 pounds and 38 inches in length. They are found in the north Pacific from Oregon to Alaska and in freshwater streams where they go to spawn. Commercial fishing for pink salmon is very important in the north Pacific but the fish is not farmed very aggressively. During migration the male fish will develop a hump on its back and are then called humpies or humpback salmon. The pink salmon has a bright gray to blue back with small black spots and a silver belly but when it goes to freshwater it turns to a dull gray or green with an off-white belly. The male sides have a reddish tint and the female have a greenish tint. They get their name from the color of their meat. Pink salmon have a firm layered flesh that has a distinctive rich flavor and is high in fat and will remain moist after cooking. The best way to cook pink salmon is to bake, broil poach or steam.
The silver or coho salmon is also known as hooknose or skowitz. The silver salmon is abundant north of Oregon and can be found in freshwater streams where it goes to spawn. It is a very important fish both for sport and commercial fishing although about 85 percent of all the silver salmon sold is farm raised. The silver salmon has a metallic- blue to greenish blue back and a silver belly when it is in the ocean. When they return to freshwater to spawn their jaws become hooked and their color changes to a bright red with a greenish head. The silver salmon averages 6 to 12 pounds and 2 to 3 feet in length but has been known to reach 30 pounds. Its meat ranges from pink to deep salmon in color. It has a firm layered meat that has a distinctive rich flavor and a high fat content and remains moist after cooking. The best ways to cook silver salmon is to broil, bake, sauté, steam, poach or grill.
The sockeye salmon is one of the smaller Pacific salmon averaging 3 to 5 pounds and 2 feet in length but has been known to reach 15 pounds. It can be found in the Pacific from San Francisco to Alaska and is most abundant in the waters off the coast of Washington. It is the third most common salmon in the Pacific Ocean. Like the other Pacific salmon, it enters freshwater streams to spawn. There is also a smaller type of sockeye salmon called kokanee that lives in freshwater, landlocked lakes. These fish are rarely found over 14 inches long. When at sea, the sockeye salmon has a blue gray back, fine black spots on its side and a silver belly. When it enters freshwater streams and rivers to spawn their color turns to bright red with a greenish head and the breeding males develop a hump on their back and hooked jaws. Also known as nerka, blueback, redfish or red salmon, the sockeyes meat has a color that ranges from deep salmon to deep red. It has a firm flaky meat that is rich in flavor and quite oily and remains moist after cooking. The best way to cook sockeye salmon is to broil, bake, steam, poach or grill.
The sauger is a member of the freshwater perch family and is closely related to the walleye pike in both taste and appearance. Often mistaken for a walleye, the sauger has spots on its dorsal fin where the walleye does not. It is found in the eastern half of the United States in shallow lakes and large rivers and is most popular in the Mississippi river valley and the great lakes region. Saugers are more abundant in rivers where walleye is found mostly in lakes and reservoirs. It is a migratory fish and prefers warmer water than its cousin the walleye. The sauger is a small fish averaging less than 1 pound and from 12 to 14 inches in length. It has a brownish back, darker than the walleye, with a white belly that has 4 dark vertical bars on its side. In different areas it has many varied names which include gray pike, pike perch, pickerel, pickering, rattlesnake pike, sand pike and jack salmon. The sauger has a flakey flesh that is mild in flavor and low in fat. The best way to cook sauger is to Deep fry, Oven fry, pan fry, bake, broil or sauté. SEATROUT
The sea trout is a very popular sport fish found on the Atlantic coast from New York to the Gulf of Mexico. They are not as popular commercially. The fish is normally found under the name speckled or spotted sea trout but it actually is a member of the drum family. Like the drum, the sea trout makes a drumming sound with its air bladder during the mating season. The sea trout averages from 1 to 4 pounds but can grow to as much as 19 pounds. The smaller fish are known to be of better eating quality. It is important to keep fresh fish very cold because its meat deteriorates very quickly. They are closely related to the weakfish and are also known under different names such as, speck, speckles, spotted weakfish, spotted seateague, and salmon trout. The larger fish take on an appearance similar to a salmon. They have a dark grey or green back with silver sides. The sea trout is an oily fish with a mild flavor. The best way to cook sea trout is to bake, broil, deep fry or oven fry.
An ocean fish from both coastlines, the shad can be found in the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and in the Atlantic from Mexico to New Found land. The shad, like the salmon, is born in freshwater then migrates to the sea. It lives at sea and then migrates to freshwater rivers to spawn. This is where they are caught commercially and are known as river herring. The largest member of the herring family it has been known to reach 14 pounds and 3 feet in length although the market size is about 3-5 pounds. Shad is a silver colored fish with a bluish- green back and a prominent dark spot directly behind the gills followed vertically by as few lighter ones. It has a deeply forked tail and is a very boney fish usually sold whole for baking. The meat of the shad is grayish in color and turns from pink to brown when cooked. The darker meat is richer in flavor. The shad has mild fishy flavor and is high in fat content. The best way to cook shad is to broil, steam or sauté Poach or Bake.
The shark is an ocean fish found throughout the world in tropic and sub tropic waters. It is a slow growing fish and produces few young; therefore there are many fishing regulations. It has meat that has a taste and texture similar to swordfish yet it is virtually boneless. Where the skin of the swordfish is smooth, the skin of the shark feels like sandpaper. It ranges in color from off white to black and can grow to hundreds of pounds. Some common types of edible shark are the grayfish, soup fin, brown smooth hound, bull leopard, thresher, tiger and mako shark. Of these the mako shark is considered the best eating and is the largest catch commercially. The mako shark can grow to over 1500 pounds but the average market size is about 125 pounds. The life span varies with the type of shark but the average is 20-30 years. The shark has a meat like texture with a rich distinctive, slightly sweet flavor that is fairly low in fat. It is pink to muddy-red in color and turns white when cooked. The best way to cook shark is to sauté, Broil, Bake Poach, Steam or grill.
A small fish distantly related to the salmon family, the smelt has a shape similar to a small salmon and can be found in both fresh and saltwater. They are one of the few fish that sportsmen are allowed to catch by dip netting. The smelt has an olive colored back with silver streaks along its side. The smelt is a very prolific fish and is almost always found in large schools. Abundant in the great lakes region, a fresh smelt has a peculiar smell, resembling a sliced cucumber. Throughout the United States it can be found under names like candlefish, icefish, silversides, winterfish or whitebait. The smelt has a tender flesh that is quite oily with a rich sweet flavor. The best way to cook is to broil, pan fry or deep fry.
One of the most colorful fish in the fish case, the red snapper has a bright red skin and can grow up to 50 pounds and 3 ½ feet in length. They can live for as long as 50 years. The white juicy meat of the Florida red snapper is one of the most prized that the ocean has to offer. It should not be confused with the miss-named red snapper rockfish of the Pacific. The so called Pacific red snapper will not have the snow white meat and mild, sweet flavor of the real red snapper. The true snapper is found in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic coast sometimes as far north as Massachusetts. Also known as lawyer, Pargo, Pensacola and mangrove snapper, they are found in warm waters at depths of up to 200 feet. It is a very important fish both commercially and for sports fishing. It has a slightly chewy meat that has a mild distinctive flavor and a low fat content and remains moist after cooking. The most popular ways of cooking red snapper is to bake, grill, pan fry or broil.
Sole is a very popular fish because of its very mild, tender meat and is served in restaurants and homes throughout the world. There are only two varieties of true sole found in American waters and neither of them are of value commercially because of their small size. The true sole is found only in European waters and must be imported to the United States. A member of the flatfish family it has a dark brown topside and a white belly. Because of its great similarity to flounder in taste, texture and appearance many flounders are found in the American market under the name of sole. Dover, English, fantail, petrale, butter, curlfin, rex, rock and sand sole are all flounders from the Pacific. Gray sole and lemon sole are flounders found on the Atlantic coast. Of these the lemon sole is the most common and the petrale sole from the Pacific Ocean and the dover sole from the Atlantic Ocean are said to be the best tasting. Sole has a firm flaky meat that is very mild in flavor and very low in fat and it remains white and moist after cooking. The best way to cook these fish are to bake, broil, poach, steam or sauté.
A family of freshwater fish closely related to the carp, the sucker is a bottom feeder with thick lips that act something like a vacuum cleaner. It has a carp like shape, can grow to 50 pounds and 3 feet in length and can be found in slow moving streams and lakes in every mainland state. The sucker is a fairly lean fish with a rich fishy flavor. Bake, Broil Poach or Steam
The sunfish is a large family of freshwater fish which includes the bass, bluegills, crappies and pumpkinseeds. The bluegills and pumpkinseeds are the most closely associated with the name sunfish. The bluegill is the larger of the two and has been caught as large as large as 4 pounds, 12 ounces. The pumpkinseed has topped out at 2 pounds, 4 ounces. The bluegill is known for a dark blue spot on the end of its gill and the pumpkinseed for its orange belly. These fish can be found in lakes and rivers east of the Rockies, they are a prolific fish and can be found under more than 75 different regional names, the most common being bream, sunnies or sun perch. It is a very popular game fish that averages 4 to 9 inches in length and very seldom reaches 11 inches. Larger fish can be filleted, but the smaller ones are commonly just cleaned and cooked whole. Its firm flesh is fairly mild in flavor and has a low fat content. They are best to pan fry, deep fry, or bake.
The swaii is a form of catfish that is imported from fish farms mainly in Vietnam. Its popularity has increased greatly in the United states since the trade embargo was lifted in 1994. The swaii is a river fish that can grow up to 4 feet long but the farmed fish are usually sold in the 2-4 pound range. The adult fish is almost uniformly gray. Often swaii is sold under the name of pangasius or basa. The basa is a similar fish that is actually a little better in quality so you need to check labels. The basa fish is much more expensive because it takes up to 4 times longer to raise. The swaii is a very important fish commercially and is sold all over the globe. It is similar to the American catfish but usually has a cheaper price which has caused the United States government to be very specific with labeling. The basa is a mild fish with white meat and a texture similar to the American catfish. The swaii is also a mild fish but the meat is a little darker in color and the fillets are thinner than the basa fillets. The best way to cook swaii is to bake, pan fry, deep fry or broil.
The swordfish is a large saltwater fish found in tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, sometimes at depths of up to1800 feet. Often called little bill, billfish, broadbill or espada, the swordfish has a mackerel shaped body with a snout in the shape of a long sword making up one third of the fishes total length. It is a fish prized by sportsmen and is one of the world’s fastest swimmers reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour. The swordfish averages 200 to 400 pounds but has been known to reach over 1100 pounds and 15 feet in length. Along with the tuna and the marlin, the swordfish have special organs near their eyes which create heat and warms their brain and eyes to a few degrees warmer than the surrounding water. This allows the fish to see better than its prey. They reach maturity at 2-3 years and live to a maximum of about 9 years. It has a dark purple back which fades into white sides and belly. It has a chewy layered meat with a distinctive delicate flavor, a moderate fat content and remains moist with a pale color after cooking. Because of its meaty texture it is one of the best fish for the barbeque. The best way to cook swordfish is to bake, broil or grill.
The tautog is a member of a family of fish called wrasses. They can be found on the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The tautog is a popular sports fish. They are sold commercially but the majority of fish are caught by sport fishing. They are brown and dark olive with white blotches and average from one to three pounds but can grow to 22 pounds and 3 feet in length. They have thick rubbery lips with very strong jaws. The tautog is a slow growing fish with a lifespan of up to 30 years. They are sometimes called blackfish, oyster fish, white chin, salt water chub, moll or black porgy. Also known as “poor man’s lobster”, the tautog has a meat that is white, mild in flavor and low in fat. The best way to cook tautog is to Bake, Broil, Steam or Poach.
The tilapia is a fish found in warm, shallow, freshwater streams, rivers and ponds in warmer climates throughout the world. They are a prolific fish and because of their large size, great taste and rapid growth they are quickly becoming the most farmed fish in the world. The tilapia is farm raised in over 100 countries and is the world’s fourth most consumed seafood following shrimp, tuna and salmon. The vast majority of tilapia consumed in the United States is farm raised and most of that is imported from Ecuador, Honduras and Cost Rica. Farming of tilapia in the United States is starting to increase. Tilapia average 2 to 4 pounds but have been known to reach 9 pounds. It can be found under the names blue tilapia, Mozambique tilapia, Nile tilapia or St. Peters fish. The taste of tilapia can depend on the quality of the water from which it is taken. Muddy water can give the fish a muddy taste. Its flesh is pinkish-white and turns white after cooking. The tilapia has a firm, flaky, flesh that is very mild in flavor and low in fat. It is not an oily fish but remains moist after cooking. The best way to cook tilapia is to Bake, Broil, Pan fry, Oven fry Deep fry, Poach or Steam.
The tilefish is a brilliantly colored fish from the Atlantic Ocean that can be found from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, being most abundant north of New Jersey. It is a fish taken both by sport and commercial fishermen at depths of 50 to 1500 feet. The fish basically takes on the taste of what it feeds on. The larger fish normally live in deeper water and feed on shrimp, crab, clams and lobster and take on a taste similar to crab and shrimp. This along with the fact that the larger fish have a firmer texture makes the tilefish more expensive per pound as the size increases. The smaller fish have a shorter lifespan and tend to get mushy. Known as the clown of the sea because of its color, the tilefish is iridescent blue-green with yellow and gold blotches and a white belly. It averages 2 feet in length and 5-10 pounds but has been known to reach 4 feet and up to 80 pounds. There are six varieties of tilefish and the golden tilefish is the most popular. The tilefish is a slow growing fish with a lifespan of up to 46 years. Almost all tilefish is sold fresh. When raw its meat is pinkish-white. After cooking it turns white, firm and flaky with a mild distinctive flavor. It is a very lean meat that remains moist after cooking. The best way to cook tilefish is to Bake, Broil, Pan fry, Oven fry, sauté, Steam or Poach.
A small member of a large family of fish, the brook trout can be found under such names as brookie, salter, squaretail, and golden speckled or native trout. A member of the salmon family, the brook trout averages only 8 ounces and 8 to 10 inches in length but has been known to grow to 14 ½ pounds and 31 inches. It can be found in cold streams and ponds throughout eastern United States. The brook trout is greenish to brown in color with a specked sides and reddish fins and belly. It is the state fish of Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia The brook trout has a firm flaky meat with a very mild flavor and a moderate fat content and remains moist after cooking. The best way to cook brook trout is to bake, sauté, broil, steam, pan fry or poach
Being the largest member of the char family, the lake trout averages 4 to 5 pounds but can grow up to 100 pounds and 5 feet in length. It is the largest of the freshwater trout. It is found in deep, cold water lakes from Alaska to the Canadian Border States, including the great lakes. The lake trout is a slow growing fish and because of its late maturity, it can easily be over fished. The lake trout is closely associated with the brown trout, the grayling and the arctic char, and can be found under names such as namaycush, togue, longe, fork tail and mackinaw. The siscowet is a lake trout that is usually found in deeper water of the great lakes and is usually smoked because of its very high fat content. The lake trout has a gray body that is peppered with pale spots which are oftened tinted pink. Its meat is flaky and rich in flavor and its fat content varies with the size of the fish. The larger the fish the higher the fat content will be. The best way to cook lake trout is to bake, broil, pan fry, oven fry, poach or steam.
The rainbow trout is the most abundant member of the freshwater trout family and is found in cool clear waters throughout the western United States. It is native only to states west of the Rocky Mountains and is very important for both sport and commercial fishing. Commercially it is generally a farmed raised fish. It is a close relative of the other small trout such as the dolly varden and the cutthroat trout and is actually a member of the salmon family. It can be found under such names as bow, coaster, red sides, summer salmon and salmon trout. It is a torpedo shaped fish that that has a blueish-green or yellow-green color with distinguishing broad horizontal reddish band. The rainbow trout averages only 8 ounces but can grow to 37 pounds and 40 inches in length. The rainbow trout occasionally leaves its freshwater habitat and lives in the ocean. There it takes on a grayish color and salmon colored meat. After two to three years the rainbow returns to freshwater to spawn. When it returns to freshwater it is known as steelhead or salmon trout because of its color change. The steelhead and the rainbow trout are the same species. The meat of the rainbow trout will have more flavor the larger it gets. The steelhead, one that has lived in the ocean, will have more flavor than the rainbow. The rainbow trout has a firm flaky flesh that is very mild in flavor and has a moderate fat content. The best way to cook is to oven fry, bake, broil, panfry or steam.
The albacore tuna is the choicest of the four kinds of tuna. Its light colored flesh and mild flavor is the reason it has been given the name “chicken of the sea”, and it is the only tuna that can be sold as white meat tuna in the United States. It is also known under the names of albacore fish, ahi, tombo, binnaga, tunny or long fin tuna. The albacore can be distinguished by its long pointed tail, its metallic blue back and its silvery bottom. Found in the temperate waters off the shores of southern California, the albacore averages 10 to 60 pounds but has been known to reach 93 pounds and 5 feet in length. It is a very important fish both commercially and for sport fishing. It has a rather chewy, layered meat with a mild flavor and a high fat content. After cooking it will have a light tan color and can be a little dry if over cooked. The best way to cook albacore tuna is to sauté, pan fry, oven fry, bake, broil, poach or grill.
Bluefin tuna can be found in most warm, temperate seas throughout the world and are abundant from Alaska to California on the west coast of the United States. Like the other varieties of tuna it is a very fast, strong swimmer and traveling in schools they inherit the name” wolves of the sea”. They have a dark green or blue colored back with a silver belly and yellowish tinges on its tail and average 15 to 80 pounds but have been known to top the scales at 1600 pounds and 14 feet in length. Also known as horse mackerel, the bluefin has a grayish or pinkish meat that is rich in flavor and a higher oil and fat content than the other varieties of tuna. The best way to cook bluefin is to bake or poach.
Found mostly in tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the skipjack is the smallest of the tunas averaging only 4 to 24 pounds but can reach 31 pounds. It is an important fish for sport and commercial fishermen. It has a dark metallic blue top with a silver sides and a light colored flesh that is rich in flavor and moderate in fat content. The best way to cook skipjack tuna is to saute, pan fry or broil.
Found in most warm waters, the yellowfin tuna is largely marketed as ahi tuna. It averages 30 to 150 pounds and has been known to grow to 400 pounds. It has a blue back with yellowish tinges on its sides and receives its name from its yellow tail and belly fins. It is also found under the names of atun or tunny and is very popular off the coast of southern California. As a commercially important fish, most of the yellow fin tuna is canned. As a sport fish they are known as the toughest fighters of all of the tuna. The yellowfin has a light colored meat that is rich in flavor with a moderate fat content. The best way to cook is to bake, broil, poach or grill.
The turbot is a member of the flatfish family found primarily in sandy shallow waters close to shore. It has a greenish brown to black top and is very similar in appearance to flounder and sole. The European version, which is of much better quality, can grow up to 55 pounds. The Europeans are raising turbot in fish farms but these are much smaller, averaging 2 to 4 pounds. It is usually available only as frozen fillets in the United States. Like other flatfish, its fillets are white and mild in flavor with a moderate fat content. The American version which is much smaller than the wild European version only grows to about 2 pounds and 18 inches in length. The United States version is not nearly as good in flavor or low in fat as the European turbot and its meat can sometimes be a little mealy. The Greenland turbot and some flounders found on the west coast that are sold as turbot are some of these versions. The turbot has meat that is mild and tender and the best way to cook is to bake, steam, sauté, pan fry or poach.
Because of its long sleek body with a shape similar to a torpedo, the Wahoo is one of the fastest fish in the ocean reaching speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. It is related to the tuna and the mackerel and can be found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. It is also found under the names of kink fish, peto and especially ono, which is the Hawaiian word which means good to eat. It is believed that the name Wahoo came from the island name Oahu, where the fish is plentiful. The Wahoo has very small scales with a large mouth and very sharp teeth. It is iridescent blue with silver sides and has blue vertical bars that extend the length of the fish. It is a colorful fish, but like the mahi mahi, it fades in color very fast after death. It looks very similar to the barracuda although the barracuda has larger teeth and larger scales. The Wahoo is important as a sport fish because of its speed and great taste but is not as important commercially. The majority of the marketed fish comes from the Hawaii area. It is a fast growing fish and average catches range from 8 to 30 pounds but it has been known to reach 180 pounds and over 8 feet in length. The Wahoo has a white to light-grey colored meat that is lean, delicate in texture and mild in flavor. The best way to cook Wahoo is to bake, broil, grill, sauté, pan fry, oven-fry or poach.
Because of its good tasting meat the walleye is a very popular fish for both sportsmen and commercial fisheries. Although it is usually called walleye pike, the walleye is not a member of the pike family but is actually a member of the freshwater perch family. It is most popular in the clear lakes of north central United States and is most abundant in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In different areas of the country it can be found under about 60 different names including such as dore, marble eye, pike perch and yellow pike. The walleye gets its name from its large eyes which have a special layer that enables them to see very well in low light conditions. It is the state fish of Minnesota, South Dakota and Vermont. It was also declared the official fish of Saskatchewan. The walleye is olive brown with mottled brassy specks and a golden hue on the sides. It has a large mouth with many very sharp teeth. It averages 1 to 3 pounds but can grow to 22 pounds and 36 inches in length. It is a mild flavored fish and is low in fat. The best way to cook walleye is to pan fry, deep fry, broil, bake or sauté.
The weakfish receives its name because of its tender lips which are easily torn by fishermen’s hooks. It is a member of the drum family and like other drum it is capable of producing drum like sounds by vibrating muscles around its air bladder. However in the weakfish, only the male is able to produce these sounds. The weakfish is popular with both sport and commercial fishermen on the east coast and is sought from Nova Scotia to Florida. It is the state fish of Delaware. It has a dark olive green back with tinges of purple, gold or green on its sides and a white to silver belly. Its sides are covered with wavy lines of dark blotches. They can live up to 17 years. The weakfish is closely related to the sea trout and averages 1 to 3 pounds and has been known to reach 17 pounds and 32 inches in length. Some other commonly used names are sea trout, gray sea trout, sand sea trout, spotted sea trout, speckled sea trout, gator trout, shad trout, summer trout, sun trout, gray weakfish, squeteague, squit and tide runner. Its tender firm flesh is mild in flavor and low in fat. The best way to cook weakfish is to sauté, pan fry, oven fry, bake or broil.
Closely related to the trout and salmon, the whitefish is abundant in north eastern United States and Canada, primarily in the great lakes region. It has a grayback with silver sides and averages 1 to 4 pounds but can reach as high as 15 pounds and 30 inches in length. Because of its small head the whitefish is sometimes called humpback. It is an important fish commercially and is found in many retail stores. The cisco, a small member of the species, is generally smoked because of its size and high oil content. In some areas the whitefish is also known as shad, lake herring, blue back and ostego bass. Its tender flesh is fairly mild in flavor and high in fat content. The best way to cook whitefish is to saute, pan fry, deep fry, oven fry, poach, steam, bake or broil.