Finfish is a term used to separate true fish from shellfish. The category is broad and includes everything from whitefish like cod, bass and haddock to more exotic species like monkfish and eel.
Broiled or grilled fish dishes are often low in calories, sodium, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. They are high in protein and a good source of many vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, iron, iodine, fluoride, zinc, and copper.
The increasing customer interest in heart-healthy options means that, in the future, finfish will be menued more frequently and in more applications than in the past. So, it is important to understand and recognize available finfish varieties as well as their valueadded counterparts.
Troll for Fish
Cod is the common name for nearly 60 species of the family Gadidae. This popular saltwater fish comes from the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans and lives primarily along the sea bottoms. Cod are mostly brown or gray, becoming paler towards the belly. The mild flavored meat is white, lean and firm. Cod can be baked, poached, braised, broiled or fried. It is available fresh, frozen, dried, salted and smoked.
Pollock is a member of the cod family and is found in the North Atlantic. However, pollock differs from other codfish because the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw. The low-to-moderate-fat flesh is white, firm and has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor. When cooked, polluck is lean and moist with a nice flake. Pollock are available fresh, frozen and smoked, either whole or in fillets or steaks.
FACT: Norwegian scientists attract young cod
to feeding sites by playing recordings of tuba music underwater.
Hake, related to cod, is a saltwater fish that makes its home in the Atlantic and northern Pacific Oceans. It is low in fat and has white, delicately flavored meat. Ranging in size from one to eight pounds, hake is marketed whole or in fillets and steaks and comes in fresh, frozen, smoked and salted forms. Hake may be prepared in any way suitable for cod.
Whiting is a small gray and silver fish related to both cod and hake and is sometimes called silver hake. The whiting's lowfat flesh is white, firm textured and delicately flavored. The fish weighs between one and five pounds and is marketed (fresh and frozen) both whole and in fillets. Whiting is also available salted and smoked. It can be poached, steamed, broiled, pan-fried or baked. Cooked whiting ranges from pure white to off-white in color with a softer texture and less flake. It is mild tasting and sweet.
Herring is a huge family of saltwater-fish with over one hundred varieties.In the U.S, the two most popular members are the American Shad and the alewife. Herring are small, filterfeeding fish that are bluish green to olive on top and silvery below. They typically travel in gigantic schools in the cold coastal waters of the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Young herring are frequently labeled and sold as sardines. When fresh, the high-fat herring has a fine, soft texture that is suited for baking, sautèing and grilling. The herring's flesh becomes firm when cured by either pickling, salting, smoking or a combination of those techniques.
Halibut, a member of the flatfish family, can weigh up to half a ton! Normally, however, they range between 50 and 100 pounds. Halibut can live to be up to 40 years old and grow to over eight feet long. Most halibut are flat and symmetrical, often with heavily pigmented backs. They are compressed laterally and both eyes are on the right (top) side. Halibut is a very mild, sweet-tasting lean fish with a fine-grained, dense meat. It retains moisture well in a frozen state and keeps its texture when cooked.
With over 50 varieties, rockfish is the largest of the Pacific Coast fish families. The lowfat rockfish can be broken down into two broad categories—deep-bodied and elongated. The flesh of the deep-bodied varieties (such as yellowtail, blue rockfish and goldeneye) is firmer and more full-flavored than the softer milder fish of the elongated species (like bocaccio, chilipepper and shortbelly). Rockfish range widely in color from reddish-pink with blacktipped fins to orange-mottled brown to dark olive green with bright yellow fins. They average from 5 to 15 pounds and are sold whole or in fillets. The firm-fleshed rockfish is suitable for virtually any cooking methods, whereas the softer flesh of the elongated varieties must be handled gently (they arepreferably baked or poached).
Some rockfish are marketed as "Pacific snapper" or "Pacific red snapper" but they are not related to the true Atlantic red snapper, which is known for its reddish pink skin and red eyes. Its flesh is firm textured and contains very little fat. Striped bass is also sometimes referred to as "rockfish," but is not a member of the species.
Dover sole, English sole, fluke, grey sole, Petrale sole, rex sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, and yellowtail flounder are all common names for the flatfish species known as Flounder.
Generally speaking, flounder is prized for its fine texture and delicate flavor. It can be baked, broiled, poached, steamed or sautèed.
Sablefish, also known as Alaska cod, black cod and butterfish, is actually neither a cod nor a butterfish. The white flesh of the sablefish is soft-textured and mild-flavored. Its high fat content makes it an excellent fish for smoking and it is commonly marketed as smoked black cod. It can be prepared in a variety of ways including baking, broiling or frying.
There are several varieties of North American salmon; all but one are found off the Pacific coast. (About 90 percent come from Alaskan waters.) The following varietiesare the most common:
Chinook or king salmon, is high-fat, soft-textured and ranges in color from of-white to bright red. Coho or silver salmon, is also a high-fat salmon with firm-textured, pink to red-orange flesh. Sockeye or red salmon, (highly prized for canning) have firm deep red flesh. Not as fatty. Pink or humpback salmon is the smallest, most delicately flavored of the Pacific varieties. Chum or dog salmon is distinguishing by having the lightest color and the lowest fat content. (For more Salmon specs, check out the September, 2005 FM on p. 84).
Mahi-mahi is a Hawaiian word that translates as "strong-strong." Mahi-mahi are also know as "dorado" or "dolphinfish," not to be confused with porpoises, which at times are also called dolphin. Mahi-mahi is a coldblooded member of the fish family, while porpoises are mammals. Mahi-mahi is a moderately fat fish with firm, flavorful flesh. ranges in weight from 3 to 45 pounds and can be purchased in steaks or fillets. Mahi-mahi is best prepared simplyby grilling or broiling.
Swordfish have a distinctive sail-like dorsal fin and a striking sword-like projection extending from the upper jaw. Their mild-flavored, moderately fat flesh is firm, dense and meat-like, making swordfish one of the most popular fish in the U.S. Because it's so firm, swordfish can be prepared in almost any manner, including sautèing, grilling, broiling, baking and poaching.
Tuna is a member of the mackerel family and is probably the most popular fish used for canning today. There are numerous varieties of tuna, the best known being albacore, bluefin, yellowfin and bonito. All tunas have a distinctively rich-flavored flesh that is moderate to high in fat, firmly textured, flaky and tender. Depending on the variety, fresh tuna is available seasonally, generally starting in late spring and continuing into early fall. Frozen tuna is available year-round and is sold in both steaks and fillets. It may be cooked by almost any method, including baking broiling, grilling and frying. Canned tuna is precooked and is sold as albacore and light meat. It comes in three grades, the best being solid or fancy (large pieces), followed by chunk (smaller pieces) and flaked or grated (bits and pies). Canned tuna may be packed in either water or oil.
Ecologically Friendly Seafood
Depletion of a fishery's stock not only negatively affects the target harvested species, but also has ramifications throughout marine ecosystems. Other man-made and environmentally destructive practices, can also disrupt natural food chains, destroy habitat and cause additional species depletion via accidental by-catch. Choosing to use seafood that comes from wellmanaged fisheries can help reduce these negative effects and is increasingly becoming a criteria of customers with environmental concerns.