Seafood Countdown #23: Hake
Countdown: 33 Best Seafoods

Seafood Countdown #23: Hake

Hake is a fish you may not have heard of before. But it’s a legitimate Gulf species, caught frequently enough to appear on the menus of restaurants that put some work into finding fish. Indeed, I’ve run into it three or four times in the last few months, so perhaps its popularity is increasing. The hake is a funny-looking fish. It has a tail the comes to a point, with a continuous fin along its back and underside. It looks like a standard fish in front and an eel in…

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Exotic Seafood Countdown #24: Escolar
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Countdown #24: Escolar

Escolar is controversial. It first became popular when Emeril decided he liked it and ran it often on his menus. It’s a delicious fish when coated with Creole seasoning and then walked across a hot wood-burning grill. It’s also widely served in sushi bars. But there’s some confusion as to what escolar actually is. Read More. . .

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Exotic Seafood Countdown #26: Bluefin Tuna
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Countdown #26: Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tuna is the species that you may have heard of selling for thousands of dollars per fish, with the buyers often as not being Japanese. Living in the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific and other seas worldwide. bluefin tunas weigh hundreds of pounds–the record being 1496 pounds. Its size and swimming speed (among the fastest in the ocean, able to dart about at over 40 miles per hour) puts it at the top of the ocean food chain. Read on. . .

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Exotic Seafood Countdown #27: Cold-Water Southern Hemisphere Lobsters
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Countdown #27: Cold-Water Southern Hemisphere Lobsters

In the mid-1970s, Chef Warren Leruth–who, since he died in 2004 has all but achieved sainthood among New Orleans chefs and gourmets–told me that he found a new kind of lobster. “It’s not a langouste,” he said, referring to the genus that includes tropical and spiny lobsters. “It’s an homardus species, but it’s hard to tell because they don’t have the big claws that Maine homard lobsters do. They come from the cold water around South Africa, and from New Zealand, too. They just ship the tails. They freeze very well.” (This was before a lot of seafood started flying around the world.) Read on. . .

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Exotic Seafood Survey #28: Big Squid.
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Survey #28: Big Squid.

When you consider ordering squid in a restaurant, you would be well advised to ask how big the squid are. The smaller ones–around four inches long–are the ones that are commonly cut into rings after the tentacled “fried spider” head part is pulled off. That’s the kind that Italian restaurants fry with a side of marinara sauce on the side.

But squid can be bigger than those. Much bigger. And bigger still–all the way up to the well-named colossal squid. That one is so gargantuan that it can battle a sperm whale to the death. Read on. . .

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Exotic Seafood Survey: #28, Triggerfish.
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Survey: #28, Triggerfish.

Triggerfish would have to taste very good for its flavor to be the most memorable thing about it. Almost everything about it is unique, beginning with its name. The large family from which triggerfish come have two spines that the fish can suddenly evert when a predator tries to attack. The spines hurt enough that the predator usually lets the triggerfish go. The fish is unusual in appearance, too, with its gill slits all but hidden on the top of the fish. The more colorful triggerfish species are beautiful enough that they’re popular aquarium fish. Read on. . .

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Exotic Seafood Countdown #29, Alaskan King Crab
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Countdown #29, Alaskan King Crab

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Exotic Seafood Countdown #30, Cod.

No fish had a greater impact on western civilization than cod. The enormous schools of cod in the northern Atlantic Ocean were the subject of many political maneuverings, enough that a few books to have been written on the subject. (I’d recommend Mark Kurlansky’s Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.) Codfish figure into the diets of people who never see the fish in its fresh state–only in its salted, dried form. That’s bacalao or bacala, which is to fresh fish what beef jerky is to a…

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Exotic Seafood Countdown: #31, Chilean Sea Bass.
Countdown: 33 Best Unusual Seafood Dishes

Exotic Seafood Countdown: #31, Chilean Sea Bass.

#32: Chilean Sea Bass

A member of the cod family–but not much like any cod you’re used to eating–this fish burst onto menus in the 1980s. It’s a big creature that gives beautiful servings of pearlescent white fish. The cut is somewhere between that of a fillet and a steak. It requires longer cooking than most fish, and when chefs cook it the way they do other fish, it can be more than a little tough. Read on. . .

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