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Glossary of Terms for Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans and other Cooking Ingredients & Methods

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Tails: Fish portion which resembles the tail of a fish, boneless, usually breaded or batter-dipped, raw or precooked. Weights vary from 3-1/2 to 6 oz. Sometimes the entire tail, bone-in, is breaded and frozen for sale as a "tail". The term is also applied to shrimp and spiny lobster with reference to their meaty tail sections.


Tarakihi - (Nemadactylus macropterus). Average length 30-40 cm, average weight 1.8 kg, but can grow to 60 cm. Found around New Zealand, southern Australia and southern South America. Deep bodies and laterally compressed with one pectoral fin ray elongated. Colour varies with locality from silvery with a blue-green sheen, to silvery black. Distinctive black shoulder band. Small protractile mouth with thick lips. Moderate scales. Tarakihi is common all round New Zealand: most abundant in the cooler waters south of East Cape and around the South Island. Demersal, main depth range 100-250 m. Caught mainly by trawling. Landed all year round with catches increasing February to June. A moderate resource. The related porae has more prominent lips, no black shoulder band, a greener head and back and silvery sheen on sides. Porae is occasionally caught in trawls. Flesh white, medium-firm texture. Suitable for all methods of cooking.


Tempura Batter: A light Japanese-style batter which is becoming increasingly popular.


Tilapia: a small, farm raised fish, with a mild white flesh.


Ton: In international seafood sales, usually refers to a metric ton (2205 lbs.).


Trawl - A wide range of demersal (bottom) or pelagic (mid-water) species of fish are taken by this fishing method which entails one or a pair of vessels towing a large bag-shaped net either along the seafloor or in mid-water.


Tray Pack - A seafood packaging form in which a product is prepackaged on a shallow, clear or foam-plastic tray, over-wrapped with transparent, plastic film. An absorbent paper pad, covered with plastic to avoid sticking to the product, is sandwiched between the product and the tray to draw off moisture.



Trevally - (Pseudocaranx dentex). Average size 30-50cm weighing up to 1.5 kg. Found around New Zealand and southern Australia with a similar species in Japan. Deep bodied. Blue-green above, some yellow on sides, silver white below. Small scales, row of scutes along rear part of body. Semi-pelagic. Caught mostly by trawl, purse seine and set net. Flesh pinkish with dark lines which may be filleted out; cooks to a light cream colour. Medium to soft texture. Suited to most methods of cooking.


Trimmed - Finfish on which the fins and tail have been removed.


Tripolyphosphate (also, Sodium Tripoly, STP): A sodium-based additive used to control moisture loss. Often applied at sea to fresh-shucked scallops. Seafood with tripoly added is referred to as "wet," "dipped," or "treated."


Trolling - Several lures are towed behind the fishing vessel and retrieved as strikes are made. Albacore tuna, bluefin tuna and less frequently yellowtail or kingfish are taken in this way.


Trout - Extremely hardy and adaptable, rainbow trout have been farmed throughout the world for hundreds of years. Their delicate flesh and clean taste have made this fish a favorite of chefs and consumers. Idaho produces 80% of the U.S. harvest, although small rainbow trout farms are found in nearly every state. Rainbows are usually grown to a size of about a pound or two in earthen ponds or concrete raceways. It takes about 10 to 12 months to grow a rainbow to a harvestable size. In the wild, rainbow trout can grow quite large, reaching 50 pounds in size. While there’s some confusion between rainbow trout and steelhead, they’re essentially the same fish. The difference is their size: farmed and wild steelhead are the same size as salmon, while farmed rainbows rarely exceed 2 pounds.


Tuna, Albacore - A member of the Scombridae family of tuna and mackerel the Thunnus alalunga is commonly known as albacore tuna. Other names for this species include tombo, longfin tuna, long-finned tunny, albie, albic, and Pacific albacore. When cooked, albacore has a firm steaky texture, with large, moist flakes. The albacore flesh turns from a reddish pink to an off-white color after cooking. The flavor is a mild, rich taste. It is one of the fatter tunas, with more omega-3 than the rest of the tunas. The albacore can be distinguished from other tuna by its lack of stripes or spots on the lower flanks and belly, and by the thin white trailing edge on the margin of the tail fin. Extremely long, sickle-shaped, black pectoral fins also set albacore apart from other tuna.


Tuna, Yellowfin - or Ahi. A truly global resource, yellowfin inhabit warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The Mediterranean is the only warm sea where yellowfin are not fished commercially. The Hawaiian name, ahi, refers to both yellowfin and bigeye tuna. Ahi tuna has a texture that is similar to beef, with a much more mild flavor, and is often eaten raw as sashimi or sushi. Yellowfin is one of the largest tunas. It has a mild, meaty flavor. Some say the flavor is similar to swordfish. It is more flavorful than albacore, but leaner than bluefin. When cooked the meat turns from a bright red to brown or grayish tan. It is firm, yet moist, with large flakes. Whether it’s caught off Ecuador, Hawaii or Bali, almost all of the true “sashimi-grade” fresh yellowfin and bigeye tuna is sold to Japanese buyers who pay a premium price for 200,000 tons a year, compared to 55,000 tons consumed in the U.S. Yellowfin and bigeye are graded both by fat content and color, which can be an objective exercise, as standards can vary from supplier to supplier, depending both upon the experience of the grader and the condition of the market. Fish with the highest fat content and the brightest red bring a premium price. The amount of myoglobin in a tuna’s muscle determines its color: the more myoglobin, the redder the flesh. The amount of myoglobin is a function of a tuna’s age, physical activity and species. After the flesh of a tuna is exposed to air, an iron ion in the myoglobin molecule will start to oxidize, which turns the meat brown. For that reason, it is important to keep tuna loins and steaks wrapped in plastic.

Turbot - To make it more marketable, arrowtooth is usually sold on the West Coast as turbot, although it is not related to the true turbot (Psetta maxima) caught off Europe, which is the most expensive flatfish in the world. Arrowtooth can grow quite large, reaching more than 15 pounds. About 5,000 tons of arrowtooth are landed off the West Coast each year. Greenland turbot, Reinhardtius hippoglossoides, which is caught in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, is not really a turbot either, but instead is a member of the halibut family (outside of North America it is called Greenland halibut or black halibut). To avoid marketing confusion with Pacific halibut, the halibut industry successfully lobbied to have the name of this flatfish changed to turbot.


Turtle - Any of several species of reptiles that live in fresh water, salt water or on land and have a carapace protecting their bodies. While all types can be eaten, the Sea or Green Turtle is best known. It is also on the endangered species list, and so very difficult to find, if not illegal to buy in many areas. The Terrapin, considered by many to have the best meat, is a small (7- to 8-inch) turtle that lives fresh or brackish water. Many species of Terrapin are protected. The landlocked Tortoise are considered the least desirable of the three types. The meat of the female is more tender than the male’s regardless of the specific species. Many Tortoises are on protected or endangered species lists as well, making this difficult to find. But, turtle meat can occasionally be found fresh, and sometimes either frozen or canned in specialty markets.



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