Acadian redfish, also known as “ocean perch,” is a unique species found in the Atlantic. Unlike the Pacific, which has over 50 species of Sebastes spp., the Acadian redfish is the only fish in this region’s rockfish/ocean perch family. It’s important not to confuse it with the redfish found in the Gulf of Mexico, a drum species.
Acadian redfish is harvested year-round, with the highest availability during the spring and summer months in the Gulf of Maine. While larger redfish can weigh up to 5 lbs, the market size typically ranges from 1.5 to 3 lbs, measuring around 18-20 inches in length. When buying whole fish, don’t be alarmed by bulging eyes, as this is a natural occurrence when the fish is brought up from the depths and does not indicate poor quality. Removing the fat line from deep-skinned ocean perch enhances its delicate flavor, and larger fish tend to have a coarser texture.
The flesh of Acadian redfish is firm and white, though not as light as cod, and it turns opaque white when cooked. It’s important to handle the meat carefully, as it tends to spoil more quickly compared to other fish. This versatile fish is gaining popularity due to its ability to be served whole and its versatility as a substitute for haddock and other groundfish.
Acadian redfish is harvested using wild methods such as otter trawls and hook & line. It is available in various forms, including fresh (fillet, head and gutted, and whole) and frozen (fillet, head and gutted, and whole). Fresh availability is highest during certain months of the year.
In terms of culinary composition, Acadian redfish offers a mild, sweet flavor and a delicate to medium texture. It has a low to medium oil content. From a health and nutrition perspective, a 100-gram serving contains 79 calories, 1.5g of total fat, 52mg of cholesterol, 287mg of sodium, 0g of carbohydrates, and 15g of protein. It also provides 0.37g of omega-3 fatty acids.
Regarding cooking methods, Acadian redfish can be fried, poached, sautéed, or steamed based on personal preference. It’s worth noting any advisory concerns related to the fish.
Overall, Acadian redfish is a unique and versatile seafood option with a delicate flavor and firm texture. It’s important to handle and source it responsibly to ensure its sustainability and to enjoy its culinary benefits.