This is one fish that we’re really excited for you to get to know: lingcod.
Lingcod is a nutritional whitefish with a mild flavor and buttery texture. When cooked, lingcod comes apart in big, delicious flakes but can also hold up to grilling. To clear up some things about this little known fish: it is not a cod despite “cod” being in its name. More mild in flavor than black cod (or sablefish) and less chewy than rockfish, the lingcod is an experience of its own. Plus, it has high levels of protein, is low in sodium and shines brightest among Alaska whitefish in B12 and potassium. Learn more about its health benefits here.
We are pairing it with cod for our March special hoping that our customers who enjoy the versatility and taste of cod will appreciate adding lingcod to their weekly menu. Try it in a sandwich or a halibut recipe, you won’t be disappointed! The Alaska Department of Fish & Game explains, “The lingcod is not a true cod. Rather, it is the largest member of the “greenling” family, which includes Atka mackerel and the various greenlings.”
Lingcod is Captain Steve & Jenn’s favorite whitefish, and they are not alone. Seth, from Yakobi Fisheries who provides Wild for Salmon the lingcod, agrees. (Keep reading to find his favorite recipe!) We got on the phone with Seth to learn more about this awesome menu item and where it’s coming from. As you likely know by now, Steve, Jenn and the F/V Ava Jane crew fish for primarily sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska during the summer season. In order to bring even more sustainable, healthy and great-tasting options to our customers in Pennsylvania and online, we have had the pleasure of partnering with like-minded, trusted fishermen over the past 15 years of business. One of those partnerships is Seth Stewart and the folks and fishermen at Yakobi Fisheries.
Most lingcod harvested for commercial use in Alaska are caught historically between the months of May and July in an area known at the “Fairweather Grounds” off the coast Southeast Alaska, where on a clear day fishermen can enjoy views of the Fairweather Range, the tallest coastal mountains on earth. The fishing area is shallow, with rocky reefs, but surrounded by deep ocean and runs from south of Yakutat, AK to the north end of Chichagof Island near Cross Sound. Yakobi Fisheries, the processing plant and homeport for many fishermen, is in Pelican, Alaska on the westside of Chichagof Island.
Unlike the Kurian’s salmon fishery, which uses a gillnet, the lingcod are hook & line caught in what’s called a dinglebar fishery. The dinglebar is a weighted bar attached to the troll wire where the fish are caught deep and one-by-one via attached lures. In this way, the fish are brought up very quickly to the boat, where they are meticulously processed and iced within minutes.
The lingcod is a very hearty fish known as “ornery” and hungry in the commercial fishery as they eat most anything they can get their hands...er, fins...on. They can live long lives up to 15 years and grow to seven feet long! In the closely regulated, directive fishery, however, they average about 10lbs. During the commercial period, fishermen report their catches daily and keep biologists updated on what they are witnessing from the fishing grounds. There are only small quotas available for commercial harvest, so this close monitoring ensures proper management of the fishery.
At Wild for Salmon, we are grateful for our partnership with Yakobi Fisheries and their small fleet of boats that do the work out on the Fairweather Grounds. We trust this company, quite simply, because it looks a lot like ours: family-owned and operated, with a focus on quality and traceability. The lingcod are gilled and bled on deck and put immediately put in an ice hold for the short trips to Pelican where the fish are processed, vac-packed and frozen, ready to ship within days of catch. These shared values of 100% traceability, knowing whose catching what, and sustainability under close management by the state, are an important part of our partnership. Honor it with us by enjoying some lingcod this spring!
Seth's favorite way goes like this:
- Dip the lingcod portion in a scrambled egg
- Roll it Italian bread crumbs then fry in coconut oil
- Cook until it flakes.
"I like a little extra salt :-) Simple and delicious. It's good with a "poor-man tartar" sauce: just sweet relish and mayo. Ratio to taste."
Seth Stewart of Yakobi Fisheries with his family.