Fish Glossary

Here is a glossary of some of the fish you are likely to find in your market.
Arctic char: Very similar to salmon; usually farmraised. Also known as salmon trout.
Bluefish: A dark-fleshed, strong-flavored, oily fish. The fresher it is, the milder the flavor.
Catfish: A beloved freshwater fish of the American South. Farm-raised catfish are readily available.
Cod: This saltwater fish, found in both Atlantic and Pacific waters, is known for its mild flavor and white, flaky flesh. Small cod are called scrod.
Flounder: A popular flatfish with white flesh, a delicate texture, and mild flavor.
Grouper: Has firm, meaty, white flesh and is sold whole or filleted.
Halibut: A large flatfish with firm, flavorful flesh. Often sold as fillets, but one of the few flatfish thick enough to be cut into steaks.
Mackerel: An oily fish with a pronounced fish flavor. When large, it is called Spanish mackerel.
Monkfish: A favored fish in Provence, monkfish has firm flesh and a lobsterlike flavor.
Pompano: On the West Coast, pompano is called yellowtail. It has somewhat oily flesh and a firm texture.
Red snapper: An excellent all-purpose fish and one of the few fillets firm enough to be grilled.
Salmon: Much of the salmon in our markets is farm-raised, even when labeled "Atlantic" or "Norwegian".
Wild salmon: such as coho, king, and sockeye, has superior flavor but is available in limited quantities.
Sole: A flatfish with firm white flesh and a distinctively delicate flavor.
Striped bass: Most striped bass in today’s markets is a farm-raised hybrid of striped bass and white bass.
Swordfish: A fish with a firm and meaty texture that is a good choice for broiling and grilling.
Trout: Rainbow trout and brook trout are about 12 ounces each and serve one person.
Tuna: A huge fish with plenty of muscle and flavor. The most common varieties are bluefin, yellowfin, albacore, and skipjack. Tuna is also known as ahi and bonito.
Mussels: Most markets carry blue mussels, which have bluish black shells and are harvested wild or cultivated. New Zealand green mussels are slightly larger and have a bright green shell.
Oysters: Oysters are usually named for the location of their beds: Wellfleet, Chincoteague, and Apalachicola on the East Coast and Westcott Bay, Tomales Bay, and the tiny Olympia on the West Coast are examples.
Scallops: Sea scallops are gathered year round and are relatively large. Small bay scallops are only available in the fall and winter. Calico scallops are very small, but they have the least flavor and the toughest texture.
Squid: Also called calamari, many fish markets sell it already cleaned.
Crustaceans have elongated bodies that are covered by jointed shells.
Crab: On the West Coast, there is Dungeness crab, whose season runs from October to April. King crab, usually from Alaska, provides the large legs that are sold fresh or frozen. Small blue crabs are found along the East and Gulf Coasts. The large pieces of meat from the body are sold as lump, jumbo, or backfin crabmeat.
Soft-shell crabs: Blue crabs caught during the short period after they have shed their hard shells and before their new, soft shells have hardened. They are available fresh from May to September.
Stone crabs: Popular in Florida, the claws are harvested, and the rest of the crab is tossed back into the water so new claws can regenerate.
Lobster: There are two types: American (Maine) lobster, from the North Atlantic coast, and rock (spiny) lobster, which is harvested off Florida, California, Australia, and New Zealand. It is usually sold as frozen lobster tail.
Shrimp: More than 95 percent of the shrimp sold has been previously frozen. Warm-water shrimp live in tropical waters and are usually categorized by the color of their shell: pink, white, blue, or black tiger.

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