What fish is it, really?

By Julia Rutland
October 10, 2006
Howard L. Puckett

Many fish are labeled cod in the market because they sharesimilar traits―firm, white, meaty flesh. Here's a rundown ofthe most common cod you'll find in markets.

Atlantic Cod (Scrod, Whitefish)
The quintessential firm, white fish, Atlantic cod washistorically used for most of the fish in fish-and-chips. Now,Alaskan pollock is routinely substituted. Plentiful for 500 years,Atlantic cod could not keep up with demand with the advent ofindustrialized fishing. When cod is unavailable, substitutehaddock, hake, cusk, tilapia, pollock, striped bass, or white seabass.

Pacific Cod (Alaska Cod, True Cod, Grey Cod, Tara, Codfish)
Once dwarfed by Atlantic cod landings, Pacific cod isconsidered the world's second-most abundant white fish. Its mildflavor and flaky texture equals that of Atlantic cod.

Black Cod (Sablefish, Butterfish)
Not a true cod, most of this rich, buttery North Pacific fishis exported to Japan. Black cod mature quickly and have long lifespans―the oldest recorded was 94 years old. That means theycan reproduce early and long, making them a good sustainableseafood choice. Black cod makes an excellent substitute for Chileansea bass. Due to its high fat content and mild flavor, black cod isideal when smoked.

Lingcod (Buffalo Cod, Bluefish, White Cod)
This bottom-dwelling fish acquired its name because of aresemblance to cod and ling fish. Lingcod is a favorite withrecreational anglers on the West Coast.

Rockfish (Rock Cod, Pacific Snapper)
Neither a cod nor a snapper, this finfish shares their firmtexture, white flesh, and mild flavor. Although rockfish can livelonger than 100 years, they mature late, making them especiallyvulnerable to overfishing.

Pollock (Alaskan Pollock)
This species of cod is considered the world's most abundantfood fish. Atlantic pollock is oilier and stronger-tasting, whilemilder Pacific pollock is used in commercial fish sticks andfast-food fish sandwiches. Pollock is the fish most often used insurimi, or imitation crab.