33BestSeafoodsForRestos2017Hake is a a legitimate Gulf species, caught frequently enough to appear on the menus of restaurants. If you find it, you are in a restaurant that puts more than the average amount of work into finding fish. I’ve found it on three or four times in the last year or two, always among specials. So perhaps its popularity is increasing.

Gulf hake, filleted and ready for the steamer, the poaching pan, or light grilling.

Gulf hake, filleted and ready for the steamer, the poaching pan, or light grilling.

It’s a funny-looking fish. It has a tail the comes to a point, with a continuous fin along its back and underside. It’s like a standard fish in front and an eel in the back. It turns up in shrimp season, when it’s found as a by-catch in shrimp nets. its flesh is white and flaky, and lends itself very well to the fish dishes we like to cook and order in restaurants. I’d say it comes out best sauteed; it’s a little too soft for the grill, although some chefs prepare it that way. It’s a sleeper of a species. Try it if hake ever comes your way.

Less Interesting Similar Fish: Cod

Hake is distantly related to codfish, whose demand peaks this time of year. Especially around St. Joseph’s Day (March 19), when dried, salted codfish is a staple of the Sicilian St. Joseph dish called bacala. Which is worth getting only for making a religious statement.

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