All About Cod

All about codIt is no real stretch to say that cod is the most consumed fish around the world. Whether you enjoy it as fish and chips, in a stew, or just on its own, the mild flavor, firm, meaty texture and year round availability makes cod an ideal protein. The name cod, however, doesn’t actually refer to a specific fish. Instead cod refers to a family of fish, all with similar traits but minor differences, which makes knowing what fish you’re getting complicated if it’s not labeled correctly.

Some varieties of cod are better than others for a number of reasons. Some species have been over-fished. Others are fished in waters that don’t employ sustainable fishing practices, and still, others aren’t actually cod.

To help you make sense of what’s what, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you make a better decision.

Atlantic Cod
Also known as Whitefish or Scrod, Atlantic cod is what has been historically used for Fish and Chips. However, because of over-fishing, most Fish and Chips is made with Alaskan Cod or Pollock. Atlantic Cod is still available on the market but look for fish that has been caught with hand lines in the US.

Pacific Cod
Also sold as Alaskan Cod, True Cod, Grey Cod, Tara, and Codfish, Pacific Cod is equal in flavor and texture to Atlantic Cod. Fish from Alaska is considered the best choice because the population is healthy. Avoid Pacific Cod from Japan and Russia as those waters have been over-fished.

Black Cod
Also known as Sablefish and Blackfish, Black Cod is not actually a true cod. Most of this buttery fish is exported to Japan. Black Cod is known to mature faster and has a long life span which means they can reproduce faster and longer making them a more sustainable option. This fish is often used as a substitute for Chilean Sea Bass.

Also called Buffalo Cod, Bluefish or White Cod, Ling Cod is a bottom dwelling fish that got its name because of its resemblance to cod and to ling fish, but not because it is in fact cod. It is a favorite fish for recreation fishermen on the West Coast.

Most often sold as Rock Cod or Red Snapper, this fish shares many of the same traits as cod, though it is neither a cod nor a snapper. Rockfish can live a long time. But, they also take a long time to mature. So, they are vulnerable to overfishing. Try to find rockfish caught in California waters as that population is healthy.

Pollock or Alaskan Pollock is a species of cod, and considered to be the world’s most plentiful fish. It is oilier and has a stronger flavor than Alaskan Cod. Pollock is the fish most often used to make imitation crab.

Here are some great recipes from our blog, The Kitchen Table

Fish Tagine With Creamy Onion Charmoula
English-Style Fish and Chips
Goan Fish Curry with Coconut Milk and Tamarind
Bahia-Style Fish Stew
Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos

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