How to Cook Fish and Seafood - Recipes and Information
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Glossary of Terms for Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans and other Cooking Ingredients & Methods

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Abalone - Abalone is an edible mollusc.  It is considered a delicacy.  It has a single, ear-shaped shell lined with mother of pearl. It has a delicate taste with a firm texture. Abalone A univalve mollusc also known as Ormer or Sea Ear, which can be found along the coasts of California, Mexico, Japan and rarely on Europe. The edible portion is the "adductor muscle" ( foot) by which it clings to rocks. The flesh is tough but well flavoured so tenderising the "foot" is essential by batting - it can then be eaten raw or slowly stewed.


Aberdeen Cut: A rhombus-shaped cut from a block of frozen fish; sides  may be squared off or cut with a tapered edge. Usually breaded/battered.  Also called diamond cut, French cut.


Additives - Chemicals used in processing seafood to help retain moisture and improve appearance. Also called dips. Any additives used must be listed on product labels. Excessive use of some additives may cause toughening of seafood products or produce off odors during cooking.


Ahi: Hawaiian name for yellowfin tuna. A type of tuna that can reach about 300 pounds in weight. They feature a pale pink flesh that is relatively mild.


Aida: A way of serving flatfish fillets similar to florentine but with the addition of paprika to mornay sauce and spinach.


Aku: This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "Katsuo."


Akule: This marine fish, found near Hawaii, is normally served salted and dried. Also known as "Bigeye Scad."


Alaskan Cod: This saltwater fish, which is not a true cod, has a soft textured flesh and a mild flavor. Its high fat content makes it a good fish for smoking. Also called "Sablefish."



Albacore: A highly prized, mild-flavored tuna that weighs between 10 and 60 pounds. This high-fat fish is the only tuna that can honestly be called "white." It is the most expensive variety of canned tuna.


Alewife: One of the most popular members of the herring family, the alewife is anadromous (it spawns in fresh water). This fish provides high-fat flesh with a fine, soft, texture.


Alfonsino - (Beryx splendens). Average length 30-50 cm, average weight 1-1.5 kg. Widespread in many oceans. Brilliant scarlet above, sides red with silver tinge. Large scales, large eye, tail deeply forked. Body more slender and smoother than the related red snapper, which has rough scales with coarse spines on their margins. White flesh, firm texture. Suits most methods of cooking.


Alligator: A large aquatic reptile that grows up to 19 feet in length. The meat is generally only available in its native regions--Louisiana and the Gulf States. Alligators feature meat ranging from white to dark--mild to strongly flavored.


Amberjack: A lean, mild fish found along the South Atlantic coast. Difficult to find in markets; usually sold whole.


American Cut: Fish portions or fillets with tapering or beveled edges,  rather than square-cut sides. Also called Dover cut.


Anadromous: Fish that swim upstream into freshwater rivers from the  sea for breeding, such as shad and salmon.


Anchovy: There are many species of small, silvery fish known as "anchovies," but the true anchovy comes from the Mediterranean and southern European coastlines. Anchovy is delicious fresh often filleted, salt-cured, and canned in oil. Used sparingly to flavor foods. To fillet an anchovy run the thumbnail from head to tail on both sides of the spine.


Angler Fish: This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster." Also called "Monkfish," and "goose-fish."


Aquaculture: The regulation and cultivation of various types of fish for human consumption. Fish farming utilizes scientific methods to insure  maximum production and high quality, while keeping costs competitive with  wild product. In the U.S., most of the commercial freshwater trout, shrimp,  salmon and catfish we consume are farmed.


Arctic Bonito: This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "katsuo" and the Hawaiians call it "aku."


Arctic Char: The Arctic char is distributed throughout the polar regions and is the most northerly distributed of char, it is often sold smoked and is now becoming commonly found on restaurant menus.


Atlantic Oyster - Also called Eastern or East Coast oyster, this species has a thick, elongated shell that measures from 2 to 5 inches at its widest point. There are dozens of regional varieties, and most get their distinctive names based on the region. Even though they are called Atlantic Oysters, they are caught wild from Newfoundland to Colombia and in Europe as well as on Florida’s gulf coast,in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. They are farmed along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. The taste and texture of oysters depends more on the area they are grown in than the species to which they belong, much like wine. Oysters are ideal for serving on the half shell, but can be found cured or canned.


Australian Salmon - Average size 40-55 cm, weighing 2-3 kg but some up to 65cm and 5 kg. Occurs around New Zealand and southern Australia. Not related to true salmons, despite its alternative names of Pacific salmon and Australian salmon. Speckled light green-blue above, white below, juvenile fish with additional brown markings. Found in inshore waters all around New Zealand but most common from Kaikoura northwards. Mostly taken by purse seine, some by trawl. Caught all year round but main season in April to October when schooling at surface. Flesh rather dark but lightens on cooking. Medium texture, strong flavour. Especially tasty when soused, smoked or cooked by moist heat, ie. poaching or steaming. Suited to canning, when the flesh turns a delicate pink.


Awa: An important food fish of the Indo-Pacific region that offers a tender, white flesh. Hawaiians use Awa for making fish cakes and sashimi. Also called "Milkfish."



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