Market Name: Tilefish
Scientific Name: Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps
Common Name: Golden tilefish, blue tilefish, great northern tilefish
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Medium/Firm

The colorful tilefish, known as the “clown of the sea,” may look like a tropical species, but it is found from Florida to as far north as Nova Scotia. Tilefish inhabit a narrow stretch of ocean floor in a band of warm water along the upper reaches of the continental slope. The major fishing grounds are off eastern Florida, southern New Jersey and the tip of Long Island, N.Y. Fishermen target tilefish with longlines; it is a selective fishery with little bycatch. Whether from Miami or Montauk, almost all tilefish is sold fresh, graded and priced by size: The bigger the fish, the higher the per-pound price. But just because smaller tilefish are less expensive than large ones, that doesn’t mean you’ve got a bargain. The smaller fish have a shorter shelf life, and their flesh tends to be softer. Tilefish can grow up to 4 feet and 80 pounds, although 5 to 10 pounds are average in the commercial catch. Fish from deeper waters dine primarily on crabs, giving them a firmer texture and sweeter flavor than those harvested in shallower waters.

Product Profile:
This species is sometimes called the rainbow tilefish for its lovely blue, green, rose and yellow coloration. Out of the water, the colors fade. Tilefish yield thick fillets with a row of pinbones. The raw meat is pinkish-white but cooks up white with a firm, flaky texture. The flavor is mild but distinctive, often compared to lobster or crab, which is not surprising, since the tilefish’s diet is largely crustaceans.

You Should Know:
Because tilefish contain high levels of methylmercury, the FDA advises pregnant and nursing women, women of childbearing age and young children to avoid eating tilefish meat.

Cooking Tips:
Firm and mild-tasting, tilefish offers chefs many options. Pan searing is a good choice of methods, since tilefish holds together well, a qual-ity that also makes it good in soups and stews. Cook the thick fillets at a high initial heat to help seal in juices and keep the meat moist. With its firm texture and clean taste, tilefish also is a good candidate for sashimi or sushi.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Broil,Fry,Poach,Saute'

Substitutions: Monkfish, Snapper, Grouper

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Head-on, dressed Fillets (skin-on), Steaks
Frozen: Fillets (skin-on, bone-in), Steaks

Global Supply: