by Jon Alexis
Sick of salmon? Tired of tuna? Had it with halibut? Bored by bass? Don’t let our lack of a coastline fool you – we can get the finest seafood in the world in Dallas, Texas and with that means a variety of fin fish beyond the “usual”.
Here are five fish you may not be familiar with, but that are consistently available in Dallas. All are sustainable alternatives to some of the more overfished species we still see on nearly every menu in town.
You’ll love it if you like: Snapper, Haddock, Cod, Tilapia
How to cook it: Bake, broil, saute, pan fry. Great breaded with panko or served with lemon butter & capers
Readers from the upper Midwest are scratching their heads. “Walleye? An unknown fish?” Walleye is one of the most popular fish in the region, but Texans are just finding out about it. A mild, flaky white fish with a BIG flake similar to sea bass.
You’ll love it if you like: Pompano, Mahi Mahi, Chicken!
How to cook it: Bake, broil, saute, pan fry, blacken or grill. Makes awesome fish tacos.
Triggerfish is prized all over the world, from the Pacific and Indian Oceans to Florida and the Caribbean. Triggers live in the Gulf too, but fishing boats have been throwing it back…Until now. Via the Total Catch program out of Houston, fisherman now have a place to sell their by-catch, and we get delicious Triggerfish. The flesh is sweet and firm…when cooked up it gets really firm, like a chicken breast. Seriously! A great fish for people who don’t really the texture of fish.
You’ll love it if you like: Swordfish, Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi
How to cook it: Sear & finish in oven, grill. The best fish for kabobs you’ll find.
I fell in love with Cobia after eating it at REEF Restaurant in Houston. Imagine the butter flavor of Mahi Mahi or Sea Bass, but with the steaky texture of swordfish. It’s like cutting into beef. Cobia is caught wild in the Gulf or responsibly farm-raised US or abroad. We like to season it simply (kosher salt, white pepper, onion salt, garlic powder) and grill it. It’s really dense, so you may have to finish it in the oven.
You’ll love it if you like: Trout, Atlantic Salmon
How to cook it: Broil, bake or saute
Literally a cousin of trout and salmon. The delicate texture of trout with a mild salmon flavor. Loaded with Omega 3’s. Its so flavorful and so juicy, you don’t need much but sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. But char’s also subtle enough to pair well with really flavorful sauces. Think english pea puree, pesto, any combination of citrus and herb.
You’ll love it if you like: Atlantic or Pacific Salmon, Halibut
How to cook it: literally any way to cook fish
Ivory Salmon is like the Wonka Golden Ticket of Pacific seafood. 5% of the Pacific King Salmon population has a genetic predisposition which does not process the carotene which turns salmon flesh red. The fish looks normal on the outside, but bone white on the inside. Texture is the same as regular salmon, but the flesh is mild and buttery with little to no salmon flavor. A great way to get all the health benefits of salmon for people who don’t like salmon. Not as readily available as the fish above, but when you see Ivory Salmon, trust me – order it.
Jon Alexis is the owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market and one of the very few fishmongers in Dallas. He is also a regular contributer to craveDFW.