Louisiana has no shortage of fish species. Our rich coastal marshes, blue Gulf of Mexico, and freshwater ponds and rivers make Louisiana a true Sportsman’s Paradise. Every year, Americans eat more seafood. We just can’t get enough of it. And no wonder, the health benefits keep getting better. The country’s leading experts, for example, now recommend eating fish twice a week. Below are some of the species we have in our waters:
|Albacore||Cobia||King Mackerel||Smallmouth Buffalo|
|Alligator Gar||Common Carp||King Snake Eel||Snowy Grouper|
|Almaco Jack||Cownose Ray||Lane Snapper||Southern Flounder|
|American Eel||Crevalle Jack||Lesser Amberjack||Southern Hake|
|Atlantic Croaker||Dolphin||Longnose Gar||Southern Kingfish|
|Atlantic Spadefish||Dusky Shark||Marbled Grouper||Speckled Hind|
|Bearded Brotula||Escolar||Oilfish||Spinner Shark|
|Bigeye Tuna||Flathead catfish||Queen Snapper||Spotted Gar|
|Bigmouth Buffalo||Florida Pompano||Red Drum||Spotted Seatrout|
|Black Bullhead||Freshwater Drum||Red Hind||Striped Mullet|
|Black Driftfish||Gafftopsail Catfish||Red Porgy||Swordfish|
|Black Drum||Gag||Red Snapper||Thresher Shark|
|Blackfin Tuna||Gizzard Shad||Rock Hind||Tilapia|
|Blacktip Shark||Grass Carp||Sand Seatrout||Tilefish|
|Blue Catfish||Gray Snapper||Sandbar Shark||Vermillion Snapper|
|Blue Fish||Gray Triggerfish||Scamp||Wahoo|
|Blue Runner||Greater Amberjack||Sheepshead||Warsaw Grouper|
|Bluefin Tuna||Gulf Butterfish||Shortfin Mako Shark||Yellow Bullhead|
|Bowfin||Gulf Hake||Shortnose Gar||Yellowedge Grouper|
|Bull Shark||Gulf Kingfish||Silky Shark||Yellowfin Tuna|
|Channel Catfish||Gulf Menhaden||Silver Sandtrout|
|Chub Mackerel||Hardhead Catfish||Skipjack Herring|
How Should Fresh Fish Fillets Look & Smell?
The color of fresh fish fillets varies, but it should always be bright and uniform, never yellow at the edges. The flesh should be moist, firm and cleanly cut. Fish fillets should have a fresh sea breeze aroma. They should never smell fishy or like ammonia. Today, grocers are required to label seafood according to country of origin. It’s always best to choose American, as the U.S. easily has the most rigorous quality standards. Grocers should display fish in a case, on a thick bed of fresh ice that is not melting, preferably under a cover.
How Do I Spot Quality Frozen Fish?
The package should be undamaged. Fish should never be chalky, a sign of freezer burn. The flesh should never be partially thawed or covered with ice crystals, a sign of thawing and refreezing.
Fish can be prepared in more ways than can be imagined. Louisiana is famous for its culinary creativity with seafood and fish is no exception. We cook it fried, baked, in soups, grilled, blackened, and sometimes raw. Here is a sample of how to bake fish.
How Do I Bake Fish?
You can actually cook quite a variety of fish dishes, while utilizing one simple cooking method, baking. The standard rule is bake fish 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. Turn the fish half-way through cooking, unless it’s 1/2 inch or less. To ensure that fillets cook evenly, tuck thin ends under. Still, cooking times vary depending on the density of the fish. So, there are back-up tests. Fish is done when it flakes easily with fork at thickest section; when it’s opaque all the way through; or when it’s 145 degrees F internally.
Refrigerate raw fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Use a thermometer and keep the frig set between 34 - 40 degrees F. It’s best to use fresh fish within one to two days.
To freeze raw fish, set the freezer at 0 degrees F or colder. Fish can be frozen for 3-4 months. Thaw fish in refrigerator for a day.
Cooked fish can be refrigerated 3-4 days and frozen for one month
How to Fillet a Fish
Lay the fish on one side. Place knife blade under front fin and cut at angle toward the head and downward, stopping at the backbone.
Turn the knife so the blade runs parallel to the spine and cut slowly and carefully, sliding the knife along the backbone until you reach right above the tail.
Pull fillet away from the body of the fish, flipping it away from the head. At this point you can simply cut the fillet away from the tail and leave the skin on for grilling.
To remove the skin, place knife at the point where the fillet is still attached to the tail and slide it under the meat along the skin. Keep the blade flat and parallel to the countertop, being careful not to cut deeply into the meat.
Many people remove the rib cage and belly because though there is some meat, it is mostly bones. To remove the rib cage and belly portion, cut along the vein from the head end to the back edge of the rib cage.
Then, cut from the vein to the edge of the fillet. The end result is a skinless, boneless ready for cooking!
Whole round fish: 3/4 - 1 lb per person
Dressed - Cleaned: 1/2 - 3/4 lb per person
Fillets or Steaks: 1/3 - 1/2 lb per person