Double H – The Best Haddock & Hake in CT @ Atlantic Seafood

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Today, we’re going to introduce you to a beautiful and delicious pair of H fish – hake and haddock. Both are whitefish that are native to saltwater environments and both are absolutely irresistible to lovers of fine seafood. Being that they’re more mild than some forms of fish, they’re also a regular hit among people who aren’t head-over-heels for seafood. To get started, we’ll introduce you to the lesser-known of these two fish, which would be hake.

Hake is a rather popular whitefish among those who are familiar with it. However, it is comparatively unknown when compared to its more famous whitefish brethren such as haddock, flounder and cod. They aren’t a particularly difficult fish to reel in, as they are on the smaller side. A typical hake will usually be around 8 lbs in weight. However, those who manage to live longer lives can grow to be as heavy as 60 lbs. Speaking of long life, hake tend to be longer-lived than many other whitefish. A hake that is allowed to live out its lifespan naturally will often make it into its mid to late teens.

Hake may be caught off of either coast of the United States, without displaying a clear preference between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. They are a mobile fish which dwell in both deep and shallow waters. By day, they tend to prefer a relatively deep environment, staying around 1,000 feet below the surface of the sea. By night, they tend to head closer to the surface, where they will chow down on smaller fish and small crustaceans who populate the area. While hake change their location throughout the day, all of them begin their lives on the surface of the ocean, where their eggs float until they hatch.

Even though hake aren’t the most well-known whitefish here in the United States, they are extremely popular in Europe. Spain is the world’s #1 nation when it comes to the category of hake consumption1. Throughout Europe, hake is highly prized and greatly enjoyed. It is usually served in fillet form, but can also be broken up into steaks. Hake can be prepared in a large variety in different ways, such as smoking, grilling, frying, baking, and broiling. When it comes to preservation, they are a fish that hold up especially well to heavy salting.

Best hake in CT - Atlantic Seafood Market

A hake in the wild, displaying its tell-tale red splotches – image courtesy of NJScuba.com

In terms of appearance, hake are usually smaller, somewhat narrow fish. They possess a silvery-gray color along their flanks and a white underside. They also have twinges of bright red along their sides, which is one of their distinguishing features. This is one of the key factors that helps fishermen in telling them apart from cod.

Hake has a flaky texture, but the flesh is slightly more dense than that of cod. This helps it to be a more dependable fish on the grill. Despite their similar appearance, hake and cod differ a bit in taste. While they are both on the mild side and appeal to a wide audience of eaters, hake tend to have a mildly crab-like flavor, as crabs are a staple of their diet.

The nutritional benefits of hake are many. Hake is a fish that is high in in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, high in Vitamins B1, B2 and B3, phosphorous, and contains a low amount of calories. In case you’re wondering, phosphorous is beneficial to your health by way of strengthening your teeth and bones as well as regulating hormonal balances.

Now that you’ve been properly introduced to hake, it’s time to move on to haddock. Haddock tend to be more of an east coast fish, preferring the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. They occupy a wide range of the Atlantic Ocean though, with many being caught in both North America and South America.

Haddock typically present a silvery-gray color throughout most of their bodies, but are easily distinguished from other species by way of the thick horizontal black bar that runs along their side. They can also be recognized by the black splotches present on and around their pectoral fins. These black spots are often referred to as the “Saint Peter’s Mark”2.

Delicious haddock in Old Saybrook, CT - Atlantic Seafood Market

A wild haddock, displaying its distinguishing black marks – image courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Haddock do not usually travel as deeply beneath the sea surface as hake do. Ordinarily, they can be found around 200 to 400 feet below the surface of the ocean. They are not a large fish and most specimen will be between 2 and 3 feet in length. They’re not very heavy either, with few examples exceeding 30 lbs. They also aren’t large eaters of other fish (but will do so when it’s convenient), preferring instead to feast on small aquatic invertebrates living close to the ocean’s surface.

There’s no true season when it comes to fishing for haddock, as their population is large and they’re available and fair game throughout the whole year. Once they have been caught and eventually brought home by their final consumers, there are several options as to how to prepare them. Haddock can be fried, baked, broiled, grilled (though this one must be done carefully) or preserved by heavy salting. Along with cod and halibut, they are among the most commonly found fish in a classic fish and chips platter.

Haddock in a fish and chips platter

Haddock in a fish and chips platter – image courtesy of SamSub.com

In regard to texture, variations exist among haddock based on their age and level of freshness. Younger and especially fresh haddock will usually have a flaky and light texture. Older and less fresh specimen will present a more dense flesh. In both cases, haddock has a very mild flavor. it is popular among both seafood lovers and non-fish fans alike. When fully cooked, it will usually have a white flesh tone that is somewhat translucent.

As is the case with hake, there are many nutritional benefits in haddock. Haddock is low in fat but high in potassium, protein, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. For those who might be wondering about just what it is that potassium does to help you, we’ll explain it now. Potassium is excellent for promoting a healthy heart, improves kidney function, and makes it easier for muscles to move smoothly and efficiently.

At this point, we’d like to share with you a delicious hake recipe that we found on a site called Lavendar ¬†and Lovage. This recipe is easy to make, enjoyable to eat, and is called Pan-Fried Garlic and Pepper Hake Fillets.

Pan-Fried Garlic and Peppered Hake Fillets

Ingredients: 2 fresh hake fillets, parsley and lemon wedges, 1 tsp of vegetable oil, 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 cup flour3.

Directions:

1. On a low heat setting, heat up the olive oil in a frying pan.

2. Mix the garlic and black pepper together with the flour. After this, coat the skinless side of the fillets with the flour mixture.

3. Put the fillets into the frying pan, skin side down. Fry for around 6 minutes or until the flesh starts to take on an opaque appearance.

4. Turn the fillets over (carefully, to avoid being burned) and cook for another 2 minutes.

5. Remove the fillets from the pan and serve them alongside fresh vegetables of your choosing and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges3.

Here’s what you’ll have when you’re done:

Peppered Hake Fillets, cooked and ready to eat - image courtesy of LavendarandLovage.com

Peppered Hake Fillets, cooked and ready to eat – image courtesy of LavendarandLovage.com

Works Cited

1. Author Unavailable
Hake
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hake

2. Author Unavailable
Haddock
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haddock

3. Burns-Booth, Karen
Fish on Friday: Pan-Fried Garlic and Peppered Hake Fillets
Lavendar and Lovage, December 7, 2012
http://www.lavendarandlovage.com/2012/12/fish-on-friday-pan-fried-garlic-and-peppered-hake-fillets-recipe.html

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