Putting together a dinner menu each and every day is just as challenging for a head of household as it is for the executive chef at a snazzy restaurant. Many things are sought when putting together the dinner menu: outstanding flavor and texture are at the top of the list, and nutritional value is also at the tippy-top; affordability, though sometimes overlooked when splurging, is also an important consideration. In the universe of Alaska seafood products-which more and more people are turning to for their daily meals-there are certainly many products that meet the first few criteria, but fall short on the notable exception of whitefish, that is. Knowing a bit about what makes up a whitefish buyer’s guide will therefore make it possible to whip up delicious meals that are also nutritional, all without breaking the bank!
Sure, salmon is excellent-but so are the many varieties of whitefish available from Alaska’s sustainable, wild fisheries. The first thing to learn about a whitefish buyer’s guide is to know what kinds of varieties you can work with. In Alaska alone, there are some 5 different types of whitefish being harvested and the production of whitefish surimi technically knocks that figure up to 6. Each variety of whitefish has its own properties (which we will explore below), and it is important that they be listed at least briefly in order to make this whitefish buyer’s guide actually worth a read:
• Pollock: in Alaska, it is known as the king of versatility-no other whitefish can be prepped and cooked in so many different fashions and according to so many different ethnic cuisines. The fish generally weighs in at 2 pounds or so, and it has large, tender flakes of flesh that are absolutely irresistible.• Halibut: this variety is the most in-demand of all of Alaska’s whitefish species.
It is a massive animal, weighing above 30 pounds in most cases, and it also has a notable capacity for being prepared in myriad ways.• Sole: also known as flounder, this species is wonderfully affordable and generally weighs in at about 2 pounds or less. It is mild in taste and texture, and must be prepped/cooked with more caution.• Cod: this is perhaps the whitest of the whitefish, and it is also among the firmest (which makes it a candidate for more aggressive prepping techniques).
With average weights around 5 pounds, it is the kind of dish to prepare for an entire family.• Black cod: finally, there is the “black sheep” of the family to include in this whitefish buyer’s guide. Black cod is more suitable for people with a love of fish and seafood, as it has a particularly pungent (though somewhat sweet) flavor, and it is highly recommended for smoking. Weighing above 5 pounds usually, it is also a good dish to serve up for a full table.