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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Watermarked - Describes the darkened, dulled skin of a salmon as it sexually matures and enters freshwater prior to spawning.


Weakfish - or Sea Trout. A round saltwater fish that is moderately lean and has a moist, flaky textured flesh. It has a sweet, mild flavor and can be broiled, baked or fried. Weakfish is also known as sea trout and can be substituted by cod, haddock or bluefish if necessary. To check the fish for doneness, use the tip of a sharp knife and cut through the thickest part of the fillet. If the fish has been properly cooked, the meat will appear opaque but will still be moist.


Wetlock - Wax-coated cardboard used for shipping fish packed on ice.


Wheel - Cross-sectional center cut from large species like sharks and swordfish from which steaks are then cut


Whelk: A large marine snail that belongs to the mollusc family. The flavorful foot-like muscle is rather tough and must be tenderized by pounding. Look for whelk in Chinese or Italian markets or specialty food stores.


Whitebait - (Galaxias spp). Average size 4.5-5.5 cm. In many parts of the world ‘whitebait” is a term applied to small larval and juvenile fishes caught in large quantities. New Zealand whitebait in no way resembles the fish called ‘whitebait’ in Europe, which are young clupeidae. In New Zealand the principal species is Galaxlas maculatus. Translucent with fine black lines. Resemble many planktonic fishes but have dorsal and anal fins far back on body. Caught during spring in tidal river estuaries as they move upstream from the sea.  Juvenile smelt of the unrelated species Retropinna retropinna fished in the northern half of the North Island of New Zealand, are often sold as “second class” whitebait or Waikato whitebait. Fish sold and eaten whole. Flesh of delicate flavour, requires careful handling.



Whitefish: A high-fat, mild-flavored member of the salmon family with a firm white flesh. The whitefish can be poached, baked, broiled, grilled, pan fried, or stuffed. Its roe (eggs) can be cooked or made into caviar by adding salt.


Whiting: A small gray and white saltwater fish sometimes called the "silver hake" or Pacific Whiting"" This low-fat fish, which is related to both the "cod" and the "hake," has a tender white fine-textured flesh and a flaky, delicate flavor.


Whole or Round Fish: Fish sold just as they come from the water. They must be dressed before cooking.

W: whole
W/R: Whole Round fish


Wild Caught - seafood that have existed naturally and harvested from the environment.


Wolf Fish: A firm, white-fleshed saltwater fish with a large head, strong jaws, and sharp canine teeth and molars that can grind clams, whelks, and other mollusks. Sometimes sold in the U.S. under the confusing name of "ocean catfish."

Wrasse: The labrus species has many varieties, many of which are best used in soup. The name comes from the latin for "lips". The best varieties can be baked or steamed - for example the tautog in the US, the raor in Majorca, and the tsing ye in China.



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