Seafood: Lingcod

Lingcod

Lingcod is a curious name for a fish that’s neither a Ling nor a Cod, but since it’s found only in the western US, Canada and Alaska, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves, although many suspect it was an Out of Towner that named it.

I’m just sayin’.

The lingcod was among a group of 80 groundfish species that were overfished and in 1999 this group had strict limits placed on them, but these restrictions were eased somewhat in 2005, thanks to the rebuilding efforts.

This fish has got greenish blue meat that might turn off the uninitiated, but when cooked it turns white and is preferred over halibut by some food snobs. These same know it all’s will tell you that the best lingcod is bled and then frozen as soon as its caught, a claim that is generally rebutted by broader minded folks just before blows are exchanged.

The lingcod is a voracious eater and can reach weights of 90 pounds, but the most common size is in the ten to fifteen pound range. Chefs in the Pacific Northwest like to use the lingcod in fish and chips, but due to the seasonal nature of its availability it’s sometimes a challenge to make that option available. It’s mild, tender and flakes off nicely.

Many commercial fishing vessels catch the lingcod incidentally while trawling for salmon or other groundfish, but the fishery for lingcod itself goes back over 100 years in California. Fossils dating back to 6200 BC have been found near San Luis Obispo, so this fish has done it all, seen it all.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Rating
Monterey Bay Seafood Aquarium rates this a “good alternative” and is sold under the names of Blue Cod, Buffalo Cod and Bluefish.

In Season at the Market

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