The 2011 True Cod Season Has Begun
If you either grew up with, or have had the pleasure of tasting Atlantic Cod, or scrod, as we called it, then you know what a delicious, versatile fish it is.
Atlantic Cod, (Gadus morhua) - is a species which has been woefully over-fished. While in certain cases, such as that in
the Gulf of Maine, there is recovery underway,
most cod of the Atlantic fishery is endangered.
True Cod, (Gadus macrocephalus), is the Pacific relative of the Atlantic Cod, and is every bit as savory and nutritious.
Thankfully, Alaska has long been proactive in managing healthy fisheries, the True Cod fishery being one of them.
True Cod are caught using three methods: trapping, longlining,
and trawling. Both trapping and longlining are passive methods, with very minimal, if any bycatch. Trapping enables any bycatch to be released live. Longlining uses gear that is customized for catching True Cod.
Time-honored techniques become such for a reason,
and True Cod lends itself beautifully to salting.
Salting has traditionally been used as a means of preservation,
but, oh what it does for this fish!
We encourage you to try a quick-salt.
Cooked sans the quick salt, cod is still lovely - with a texture somewhat soft, and often breaking off in small fibers, almost resembling feathers. Quick-salting will change that texture to one that is more firm, the appearance to one that is more translucent and the flavor to that which is more focused.
Follow these simple guidelines to greatly enhance the texture and tastiness of True Cod with a Quick Salt. You'll need some kosher salt, some cod, some water, and some time ahead – anywhere from 3 hours to 24 hours or more.
- 1. Sprinkle kosher salt onto both sides of the cod fillet. One need not encrust the fish, but merely achieve a nice, even dusting.
- 2. Elevate the cod over a rack or plate (it will "sweat" some liquid), and cover with plastic to keep protected, it needn't be air-tight. Refrigerate while it salts.
- 3. After having salted the fish, take the fillet and soak it in clean, cool water for an amount of time that is in proportion to the amount of time you've had the fish salting.
If you've had the fish salting for 3 hours, soak it for one hour.
If you've had it salting overnight for ten hours or so, soak it for four hours, changing the water after two hours.
You'll be able to see the difference in the fish in as little as two hours. This change will make a wonderful world of difference in your dishes, from serving it raw in a crudo, to sauteing or broiling.
For a superb chowder, pick up some True Cod
and stock at the store.
There's a Classic New England Fish Chowder recipe
in Fish Forever by Paul Johnson to warm one up
on the chilliest of winter days.