You are what you eat, and in the case of golden tilefish this adage is definitely true. A diet rich in crabs could be contributing to the delicious, sweet, rich and somewhat “crab-like” flavor of tilefish… whatever the case, tilefish (both golden and grey) is recognized as a culinary superstar – fantastic flavor, firm and tender, and easy to cook with.
Range & Habitat: Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Florida; Gulf of Mexico; Pacific coast from Washington to Baja California.
Identification & Biology: Easily recognizable, tilefish is a vibrant, colorful fish with bluish to olive-green sking speckled with yellow and gold, and a lighter belly. Although tilefish can top 50 lbs. or more we’re seeing them mostly around 10 lbs.
Fishing Technique: Long line, hook & line
Sold as: Whole, fillets, portions
Substitutes: cod, grouper, haddock, halibut, turbot, weakfish
Recommended Preparation: Terrific in many preparations, tilefish takes to almost any technique, including smoking. Posana in downtown Asheville served up Golden tilefish with braised baby leeks, potato fondant, and roasted garlic-bacon jus while the Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, FL paired it with kabocha squash, fennel, candied olive, pepitas, and orange butter.
Buy a whole fish and use the trimmings to make a tasty fish cake, or use the bones for stock and any leftover meat becomes a flavorful fish soup.