Market Name: Hake; Cape capensis; Antarctic queen
Scientific Name: Merluccius spp.
Common Name: Whiting; Argentine whiting; Chilean hake; capensis, South African whiting; Pacific hake/whiting, North Pacific whiting; Atlantic hake/whiting, silver hake
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Delicate/Medium

More than a dozen hake and whiting species inhabit temperate and cold waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Quality varies, depending upon species and handling. There are two separate fam i lies of hake, Merluccidae and Gadidae, but Merluccius is most common in the U.S. market, particularly Atlantic whiting (M. bilinearis), or silver hake from the Northwest Atlantic. Pacific whiting (M. productus), found from the Bering Sea to Baja California, has very soft flesh and is frozen almost immediately to retain its value. Most hakes are identified by geographic origin outside the United States, which imports large amounts of Argentine whiting (M. hubbsi) and Chilean hake (M. gayi). Two high-end hakes from Southwest Africa, M. capensis and M. paradoxus, are marketed as Cape capensis. M. australis, a big hake from southern Chile, is sold as Antarctic queen.

Product Profile:
Hakes range in size from the 6-pound capensis to 1- to 2-pound Pacific whiting. Texture varies from soft to moderately firm among the species, though, overall, hakes have softer flesh and less flake than cod, haddock and pollock. The best species, like Cape capensis and Antarctic queen, have a texture similar to sole. Hake is mild-tasting, even a bit sweet. Raw flesh is lean and white to off-white (South American hake may be somewhat tan), with a coarse, watery appearance; cooked, it ranges from pure white to off-white. Capensis offers the firmest meat of the lot, followed by Atlantic and Argentine hake.

You Should Know:
There is a wide range of hake species, and the fish are fragile and highly perishable, meaning quality of the end product can range from poor to excellent. It pays to know your species and your supplier.

Cooking Tips:
Hake can be substituted for many dishes calling for pollock or cod. The less expensive species, like Pacific whiting, Argentine hake and silver hake, are excellent fried in a light, crispy batter. Since it is bland-tasting, Pacific hake welcomes a broad range of seasonings. It is often used for fish sticks and cakes. Atlantic whiting, which is firmer in texture, is popular as corned hake in New England. The key with all hakes is to treat them gently in the kitchen.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Broil,Fry,Saute'

Substitutions: Cod, Pollock, Flounder

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Whole, H&G, Fillets
Frozen: H&G, Fillets, Blocks
Value-Added: Breaded portions, Smoked, Salted (white and red hake), Surimi

Global Supply: