One positive aspect of the recent regulations on catch limits for popular fish like flounder and haddock is that seafood enthusiasts are becoming more creative with the types of fish they cook and eat. In March of this year, local Boston, Massachusetts, chefs held a “Trash Fish Dinner,” where they served up three lesser known (but still delicious) types of fish: redfish, pollack, and dogfish. The creativity of these chefs, and their willingness to explore less popular types of fish, illustrated that delicious dishes can come from all types of seafood, as long as they are served with a bit of ingenuity and inventiveness.
Here’s a breakdown of three well known “trash fish,” and some suggestions of how they may spice up your everyday seafood repertoire.
A flakey and moist fish, redfish is sometimes known as ocean perch. Mild in flavor, many compare its taste to the red snapper fish. Redfish is a popular fish to cook blackened or pan friend. It has firm, white flesh, and tends to spoil more quickly than other types of fish. Redfish can be substituted for haddock or fish with similar qualities (which tends to be more popular). Try it in dishes like fish tacos, crispy and fried, or baked simply with light herbs and lemon. This is definitely worth trying out at least once!
About three feet in size and a member of the shark family, dogfish is also known as Cape Shark. Most dogfish enthusiasts consider them best when eaten fresh; they do not freeze well. Dogfish must be gutted, bled, and chilled as soon as it is caught because, as a member of the shark family, its waste products are maintained within the body and excreted through the skin. A popular fish for fish and chips, dogfish is also excellent when smoked (due to its oily flesh) and also in soups, stir fry, or even as kebabs. Although the skinning and gutting of a dogfish is a bit labor intensive, it is a great, abundant alternative to popular types of fish for cooking.
A part of the cod family, the pollack is a light and flakey fish in flavor and can therefore be substituted for haddock or cod in most recipes. Pollack can grow up to three and a half feet long, have whiskers like a catfish, and can be distinguished by their dark flesh that takes a greenish hue. Although traditionally for stews (and even foods like breaded fish filets and fish sticks), pollack can be versatile because of its mild taste, and is recommended poached, baked, or broiled.