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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P&D - Peeled, deveined shrimp.


Pacific Oyster - Or Japanese Oyster. Typically large, with an elongated, fragile shell, which can reach up to 12 inches, the pacific oyster is not eaten on the half shell. Because of its size and texture, it is almost always cut up for soups, stews and other dishes. It is found along the Pacific coast and is also known as the Japanese oyster.


Pacific 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.


Pacific Whiting - Or Pacific Hake. The most abundant fish resource off the West Coast, Pacific whiting are also one of the best seafood values around. Their clean-tasting, white meat is easily adapted to a variety of applications, from fish and chips to pan frying or baking. Pacific whiting, or Pacific hake as it is sometimes called, is a member of the Merluccidae family, which includes more than a dozen species around the world that are marketed as either hake or whiting. Pacific whiting, Argentine hake and South African hake are the most abundant species in this family.


Pan Ready - A fish that has been headed, gutted, scaled and had its fins clipped.


Parasites: Worms or larvae that may occur occasionally in fish. All processors carefully inspect fish for parasites and cut out any discovered prior to shipment. Dead parasites are harmless but unappetizing.


Parrot Fish: Any of various chiefly tropical marine fish, especially those of the family Scaridae. These fish are called parrot fish because of the brilliant coloring and the shape of their jaws. "Also called "Pollyfish."



PDI - Peeled, deveined and individually frozen shrimp.


PDTO - raw peeled deveined tail on (in reference to shrimp or prawns)


Pasteurizing: Process of heating product sufficiently to kill most bacteria, but not enough to cook the meat.


Pectoral Spot - A dark patch on the side of some fishes (e.g. red cod, silver warehou) immediately in front of the pectoral fin.


Pelagic: Migratory species of fish that live near the surface such as tuna and marlin.


Per Capita Consumption: Consumption of edible fishery products in the U.S., divided by the total population. In calculating annual per capita consumption, the National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the resident population of the U.S. in July of each year.


Perch: Any of a number of spiny-finned freshwater fish found in North America and Europe. The best known U.S. perch is the "yellow perch." Perch have a mild, firm, low-fat flesh. The saltwater white perch and ocean perch are not true perches.


Peritoneum - The membrane lining a fish's belly cavity.


Periwinkle - The periwinkle, also called bigaros, sea snails or winkles, is essentially a sea snail. While there are over 300 species of this spiral-shelled univalve mollusk, few are edible, and are rarely found the the U.S. Like barnacles, they are found attached to sunken objects like rocks, wharves, and pilings. The most common edible periwinkle is marine and found along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. It only grows to about one inch. Popular in Europe, they’re cooked in their shells, then eaten like escargots.


Pickerel: A small (between two and three pound) variety of the freshwater pike. Pickerel are know for their lean, firm flesh.


Pike: A family of fish that includes the pike, pickerel, and the muskellunge. These freshwater fish have long bodies, pointed heads, vicious teeth, and provide a lean, firm, bony flesh. Used in French "quenelles" and the Jewish "gefilte fish."


Pilchard - Average adult size 10-20 cm, some up to 25 cm. Occurs around New Zealand and also Australia. Blue above, greenish on sides, silver below, 8-14 black spots along side; easily distinguished by this colour pattern. Scales easily dislodged. Pelagic, usually in pure shoals but may be mixed with anchovy and sprat. Widespread in inshore waters around North Island and northern South Island. The existence of the names sardine and pilchard creates the impression there are two separate species. Sardines are the young of the species and pilchard is the name for the adult form. Caught with purse-seine and lampara nets. Currently only small local fisheries, fished mainly for bait. Flesh dark, oily. Suitable for canning and marketed as two separate products, i.e. canned sardines and canned pilchards, depending on size.


Pinbones: Fine bones found along the middle of fillets.


Pink Salmon: A lower fat variety of salmon. Also called the "humpback salmon". The meat is high in Omega 3 oil.


Plaice: A mild flavored flatfish distinguishable by its orange spots. Prepared and cooked as Sole.


Plate Freezing - Freezing by use of a refrigerant flowing through hollow metal plates that are in direct contact with pre-packed seafood. Typically the plates are moveable to sandwich the product between two chilled surfaces, compressing it to ensure uniform contact and freezing.


PND - raw peeled deveined (in reference to shrimp or prawns)


Poaching - Simmering food in liquid. A perfect preparation method for seafood since it adds moisture but doesn’t overpower the flavor of the fish. For a quick and easy poached fish dish, use vegetable or chicken stock in a pan large enough for each piece of fish to lie flat. Pour enough liquid to cover the fish and bring to a simmer (165–180 degrees). Fish 1” thick will take 15–20 minutes.


Pole & Line - Skipjack tuna and albacore are concentrated around a fishing vessel by the release of quantities of small bait fish. Fishermen use a stout fishing rod with several metres of line and a barbless hook attached, to flick striking tuna onto the deck.


Pollock: This low to moderate fat fish has firm, white, flesh with a delicate, somewhat sweet flavor. Pollack is often used to make imitation crab meat. Also known as "Coalfish" or "Saithe," this saltwater fish is a member of the cod family.


Pollyfish: Any of various chiefly tropical marine fish, especially those of the family Scaridae. These fish are called parrot fish because of the brilliant coloring and the shape of their jaws. "Also called "parrot fish."


Polylined Carton - A package lined with plastic on the inside to protect seafood products. "Polybagged" and "polywrapped" are similar forms of plastic packaging.


Pomfret: This small, high-fat fish has a tender texture and a rich, sweet flavor. Found off the coast of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, this fish is also called the "butterfish."


Pompano: This saltwater fish is a succulent, fine-textured fish with a mild delicate flavor. This expensive, moderately fat fish is considered by many experts as America's finest fish.


Popsicle pack - Usually a square or rectangle, cut from a block of frozen fish. Weights vary from 1 1/2 to about 6 ounces. May be plain or breaded, raw or precooked.


Porgy: Also know as "Scup" or "Porgie." These saltwater fish are generally lean, and coarse-grained. Porgy is often grilled, poached, and pan-fried.


Portion: Usually a square or rectangle, cut from a block of frozen fish. Weights vary from 1-1/2 oz. to about 6 oz. May be plain or breaded, raw or pre-cooked.

- Fish portion packs may bear grading and inspection marks. Raw portions are at least 3/8 inch thick, and contain at least 75% fish. The fish from which the block is made must be fillets from only one species, skin on or skinless.

- Minced fish portion is a term used for portions manufactured from mechanically separated fish flesh. Labels must, and menus should, indicate whether fish portions are "minced fish" or "fillet fish" portions.


Potting - Small, rigid-frame, baited traps generally of rectangular configuration with fyke entrance(s) are used for catching either blue cod or rock lobster.


Prawn - A term commonly used to refer to freshwater shrimp, larger sized shrimp, or a smaller variety of shellfish, that is a member of the lobster family. This term causes a lot of confusion because, in the U.S., it’s used to describe several different shellfish, all of which are “correct” usages.

  • It can refer to part of the lobster family, such as spiny or rock Lobsters, or scampi. Other names in this group include Dublin Bay prawn, Italian scampi, langoustine (French), langostino (Spanish), and Florida lobsterette. They are shaped like small Maine lobsters, some with minuscule claws. They are usually 6 to 8 inches long.

  • Prawn also can describe any large shrimp, usually those that weigh in at 15 (or fewer) shrimp to the pound. These are also called jumbo shrimp or colossal shrimp.

  • The term also refers to freshwater prawns, distinguished from shrimp which live in salt water. Actually, these prawns migrate to fresh water to spawn, just like salmon. They look like elongated lobsters, with long spindly legs.


Precooked: Portion which has been cooked or partially cooked so as to require only heating or minimal cooking prior to service.


Previously Frozen - Frozen seafood that has been slacked out, or thawed for sale or use and sold unfrozen.


Processing Block - A block of fillet pieces used for fish sticks.


PTO - Peeled, tail-on shrimp


PUD - raw peeled Un-deveined (in reference to shrimp or prawns)


Purse Seine - A very large net of up to I km length and 300 m depth is used to encircle surface schooling fish such as mackerel, trevally and skipjack tuna. During retrieval the bottom of the net is closed or pursed by drawing a purse line through a series of rings to prevent the fish escaping. They are then brailed aboard.



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