The tautog is a member of a family of fish called wrasses. They live on the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The tautog is a popular sports fish, especially in the Rhode Island area. Many fishermen consider them to be a hard fighting, great tasting fish.
It is a slow growing fish with a lifespan of up to 30 years. Because of their slow growth rate and fear of over fishing, the government has put size restrictions in place both for sport and commercial fishing. They are sold commercially but the majority of fish are caught by sport fishing. They are brown and dark olive with white blotches although become blacker in color as they age. Older males are often called chinners because of the white patch on their chins. They average from one to three pounds but can grow to 22 pounds and 3 feet in length. Tautogs are a stout fish with a blunt nose and an arched back. They have thick rubbery lips with very strong jaws. This enables it to feast on crustaceans and mollusks. They are sometimes called blackfish, tog, 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. It’s flavor has been compared to that of red snapper. The best way to cook is to bake, broil,steam or poach. Click on a link below for easy ways of cooking.
For information on other fish and how to cook them go to http://tocookafish.com/fish-index. However if you need information on shellfish check out http://tocookashellfish.com/