White Fish

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White Fish – Everything you need to know about the different types of white fish, including which is best for which recipes and which can be substituted for which

Let’s face it. Fish can be confusing. There are many different types, and sometimes recipes will specify which type to use, but often they don’t. So what does it mean if a recipe calls for “white fish”? Let’s learn more about this large and delicious fish.

White Fish

White Fish

First of all, I should mention that there is a type of fish called whitefish – but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about white fish as a group. This includes most non-dark-colored fish such as salmon and some types of tuna.

White Fish Names From Cute To Clever

So that means the white fish group includes the same fish as in the photo (starting from the bottom right and going counter-clockwise) – cod, tilapia, pollock, flounder , catfish and (in the middle) bran. It also includes seabass, flounder, albacore tuna, sablefish, sturgeon, swordfish, grouper, haddock, rockfish and snapper. Just a few names.

With all the white fish in the group, there will of course be differences in their flavor. But their taste is not much different. So how do you know which one to use where?

The answer is that it depends on how thick or thin the fish is, how spongy or meaty it is and how lean or fatty it is. My advice is to look at white fish through these lenses. Once you understand what each does when cooking, you’ll have a clear idea of ​​how best to use, for example, a thick, meaty, lean fish like flounder versus a thin, flaky, fatty fish like halibut. Slippy skin. As well as what would be a good substitute for them and why.

You will mostly see white fish sold as fillets. A fillet is half the length of the entire fish, cleaned, deboned and sometimes divided into smaller pieces. Except for the whole branzino, all the fish in the photo are fillets.

Baked Whole Whitefish Recipe

The fillets of smaller fish are usually half the length of the entire fish. In other words, it is not divided into smaller parts. Smaller fish will have thinner fillets, usually 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Catfish and tilapia in the lower left and upper right respectively are examples.

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With larger fish, half the length of the fish is divided into smaller pieces, but each piece is thicker, usually from 3/4 inch to 1 inch or more. Halibut and cod, top left and bottom right respectively, are examples.

There is another common way you may see fish at the fish counter besides whole fish or fillets. For example, for very large fish, tuna or swordfish, you will also see steaks. That means half the length of the whole fish is so large that it can be cut at 1-inch intervals and still produce pieces large enough for one or more servings. Steaks are typically 1 to 1 and 1/2 inches thick.

White Fish

It is worth mentioning that the larger and longer the fish lives, the higher it is in the food chain. That means the pollutants in its meat are more concentrated, like mercury. So, for health reasons, some people advise avoiding these fish, while others say it’s okay for most of us to eat them occasionally. You will have to decide what is right for you.

The Lowly Whitefish

Obviously, the thicker the fish, the longer it will take to cook. Flakyness and fat can affect cooking time, but in most cases you can substitute any white fish for any other fish as long as they are close in thickness.

So, for example, you could make my Fried Catfish recipe with thinner fillets of flounder and tilapia, pollock and haddock. But you won’t want to use halibut or cod because they are thicker. At least don’t adjust the cooking time and/or temperature.

Fish is flaky because of the way its muscles are arranged and the fact that there is very little connective tissue between them, plus that tissue dissolves at relatively low temperatures. So what you’re seeing as scales are individual muscles with the connective tissue between them dissolved.

Some fish have large, thick scales like cod, while others have smaller scales like catfish. And then, regardless of the size of the scales, some fish come off easier, like cod, while others are so tough and fleshy, you almost need a knife to cut them, like fish. sword. But although you can see lines on a piece of fish that indicate the size of the scales, you can’t necessarily see how tough those scales are.

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Greek Baked White Fish {greek Church Luncheon Recipe}

So how do you know if the fish has a lot of meat or not? You ask your fishmonger (see this article for more on how to buy and choose fish).

Although flakiness can affect cooking time, along with thickness, it primarily affects the thinness of the fish. The thinner and flakier it is, the more likely it is to break during cooking. The thicker and meatier it is, the less likely it is to break.

That’s why I use thicker, meatier halibut for my Cioppino and Seafood Pasta. Its pieces can be stirred in the pot without falling apart. Sturgeon, swordfish and other meaty white fish also work well in those recipes.

White Fish

That’s also why I like flaky fish like pollock, haddock or cod for my Air Fryers or Fish Cakes. They will break into small pieces while you are eating them.

Mediterranean Baked White Fish (easy & Bright)

Although fish is inherently lean compared to other meats, within the fish category, some varieties are leaner or fattier than others. Of course, the fat will affect the taste. Leaner fish like cod or halibut will seem lighter than fattier fish like catfish and sturgeon. Fatness also affects cooking time but not significantly.

But leanness or fatness affects cooking in two important ways. One is that lean fish is more likely to dry out than fatty fish. That’s because fat gives you a little wiggle room between fully cooked fish and overcooked fish. The other difference when cooking lean versus fatty fish is that perhaps unsurprisingly, fatty fish are less likely to stick to your cooking surface, whether it’s a pan, baking tray or grill.

To avoid dryness and stickiness, it’s best to cook lean fish using moist heat methods such as boiling and steaming. Fattier fish can be used for those methods as well as for dry heat cooking such as stir-frying, roasting and grilling.

So, for example, thicker and creamier sablefish, sturgeon, and Chilean sea bass would be perfect for my Grilled Fish with Tomato Salsa. And leaner tilapia goes well with grilled tilapia, as do halibut, pollock, haddock and thinner cod and halibut fillets. (The recipe uses a dry cooking method, but the fish is cooked in a rich sauce that helps prevent it from becoming dry and sticky).

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Why You’ve Got To Try Fishing For Mountain Whitefish • Outdoor Canada

As for cooking whole fish, almost any whole fish, white or otherwise, can be swapped out for another as long as the size of the fish is similar to what the recipe calls for.

Why? Because the size of the fish determines the thickness of the fillet – or in the case of whole fish, the meat on either side of the body cavity – and that determines the cooking time.

Besides thin or thick, the other two characteristics we talked about above—tender versus meaty and lean versus fatty—don’t really apply. That’s because the phenomenon of flaking, which affects whether the fish falls apart or sticks together, is debatable. The skin and bones will hold the fish together.

White Fish

And for the same reason, whether a fish is lean or fatty is not an important factor. The skin around the fish adds moisture and protects the meat from direct heat. This helps even lean fish stay moist.

Pan Seared White Fish

So make roasted Branzino with branfish or any similar-sized whole fish—such as larger salmon, smaller snapper, and striped bass.

There’s a lot of information here, but you don’t need to memorize it. All you need to understand is what thickness, flakiness versus meatiness, and fattiness white fish is best suited for in what type of recipes. A fish can have any combination of those characteristics, so know what you’re looking for. But also know that, no matter what specific fish a recipe calls for, another fish with similar characteristics is likely to work just as well.

Jill is interested in fun cooking and delicious food. Her cookbooks include Finger Lickin’ Chicken, 100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Your Favorite Wine, 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Courses to Enjoy with Your Favorite Wine and Clean Plate Cookbook. Her recipes, writing and photography have appeared in magazines including Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Clean Eat, where she is an advisory board member, and Fine Cooking, where she is drinks editor .

Christine is the creator and founder of her blog COOKtheSTORY. Her passion is explaining the WHY behind cooking – Why you should cook things a certain way; Would they have been successful if you had done things differently; What are the advantages and disadvantages of the method? Learn

White Fish Name Ideas

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