Other Names: Ocean whitefish, Blanquillo
Range & Habitat: Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Florida; Gulf of Mexico; Pacific coast from Washington to Baja California.
Identification & Biology:: A bright, colorful fish with a bluish to olive-green back, paler sides speckled with yellow-gold, and a pinkish-white belly. Can range from 6 to 50 lbs. or more. (Most market-bound specimens weigh under 10 lbs.)
Market Description: The Atlantic-harvested tilefish is a popular all- purpose fish with white large-flaked flesh that's firm yet tender, low in fat, and delicately flavorful. The skin is edible.
The Pacific species, ocean whitefish, can have a slightly bitter flavor and is not as popular--and therefore not as widely available in markets--as the Atlantic variety.
Flavor Profile: medium flake, tender sweet flesh, firm flavor
Fishing Technique: Long line, hook & line
Special Note: Traded as an aquarium fish
Suitable Sub: Gray tile, Sea bass
Sold as: Whole, fillets, steaks
Buying tips: Look for red gills, alive-looking eyes, and bright skin on whole specimens. Flesh should be firm, without browning, gaping, or signs of drying. Smell for seawater freshness.
Substitutes: Blackfish, cod, grouper, haddock, halibut, monkfish, pollock, red snapper, turbot, weakfish, wolffish
Recommended Preparation: You can do almost anything with tilefish. Like cod, it's excellent baked or boiled. Whole fish can also be roasted or grilled (with a grill basket); fillets are excellent poached, braised, or pan-fried. Chunks can be added to stews and chowders.