While it might be safe to stick to the staples, these are five underrated fish you should be eating more often.
It’s easy to stick to the same ol’, especially when it comes to seafood. Admittedly, eating fish can be a precocious process and not one for the faint of heart, either. However, these five underrated fish deserve your attention.
1. Yellow Perch
A significant upgrade from tilapia with a more distinctive unique flavor than white bass, yellow perch are the most desirable table fare when it comes to panfish species. This video from the kitchen at Lake Geneva Country Meats explains a common step-by-step process for batter-frying panfish like yellow perch.
Also known as the “poor man’s walleye,” the fun-sized panfish version of its larger cousin species isn’t much different in flavor. They just require a little extra effort to clean due to their size, topping out at just shy of three pounds for the world record. They’re closely related, but yellow perch are commonly used in aquaculture operations in the midwest.
A fish that is often a by-catch for anglers targeting salmon, trout, or steelhead, this species actually belongs to the same family of salmonids. This recipe explains how to create a healthy option to fried fish with a parmesan encrusted and baked recipe with mass appeal.
Unlike it’s other family members, it does not have the same reddish, orange, pink color to the meat, as it’s name suggests. Don’t let that fool you though, they’re often tossed back without regards to the quality of table fare that they provide.
3. Pacific Mackerel
In spite of how oily the fish is, the meat maintains it’s structure with a flaky texture. This recipe by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay explains how to turn “bait” into a gourmet delicacy.
Another fun-sized version of its cousin species the Spanish and King Mackerel, this often overlooked fish is an ocean treat that often gets used more for bait than table fare. Don’t underestimate the flavor of this super oily species. They’re extremely easy to filet and cook with the skin on.
Another fish that’s often regarded without value for anything but bait, smelt are also a popular fun sized snack fish, often battered, cooked in oil, and referred to as “smelt fries,” giving off the appearance of french fries with fins and also delivering a delicious flavor when dipped in ketchup.
This video explains just how simple preparation really is.
When in season, they’re plentiful and easy to catch. Pacific-run smelt are significantly larger than their Great Lakes counterparts, and make for a hearty meal.
5. Surf Perch
This inshore saltwater species offers a popular surf fishery along the West Coast. If you want to step your game up, try this recipe for a full course meal.
The fish themselves are often overlooked by saltwater anglers that mainly target lingcod, rockfish, and halibut, however surf perch are a west coast rival to the flavor of gulf coast red snapper. These broad-bodied fish should be appreciated for their culinary simplicity.
Once the scales have been removed, you can cook them with the skin on grilled, fried, baked, it’s hard to go wrong.
Love your fish with a side of hot sauce? Check out this DIY hot sauce recipe below to dip your fish in!