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Seafood: A Fare for Every Palate

September 02, 2020

With seafood, you can get the nutrients you need in the flavors you love.

Glazed sablefish dish_Photo by Dana L. Brown, used under CC BY-SA 2_0.jpg Glazed sablefish dish. Photo by Dana L. Brown, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

When it comes to flavor, seafood offers an ocean of diversity. Some wild caught and farmed fish are rich and meaty, others are flaky and mild. Shellfish also comes in a variety of flavors—in fact, the same species can taste different depending on where it was harvested.

No matter your palate, there’s a seafood dish for you! Conduct your own taste test with the delicious recipes below. And look for U.S. products to be confident that the seafood was sustainably harvested.

Mild Flavor

If you’re looking for a fish that doesn’t “taste like fish,” look no further than white fish. Pollock, Pacific cod, sole, and flounder are common examples. White fish dishes get a lot of their flavor from marinades and toppings. You can easily make these recipes your own by swapping in your favorite add-ons and seasoning.

Wooden table with five white, wide bowls and saucers containing steaming clams.
Steaming clams. Credit: NOAA Fisheries
Farmed hard clams are also a great way to add omega-3 fatty acids to your dish without overpowering the flavor. Depending on where they are grown, clams can have a hint of sweetness or be subtly salty. 

Medium Flavor

Species like snapper, grouper, and swordfish can stand on their own or be spiced up. Moderate salsas and vinaigrettes work particularly well for these medium-flavored fish. However you cook them, snapper and grouper are a good source of protein with low saturated fats. Swordfish is an excellent source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, and zinc. 

Big reddish orange snappers placed on ice with a handwritten sign that says, "Wild Caught Vermillion Snappers for $11.99 per lb. USA."
Snappers on ice. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Full Flavor

Salmon and tuna are known for their distinctive flavors, but you may not be as familiar with other full-flavored species. Thanks to their high oil content, bluefish, sablefish, and mackerel have much stronger flavors than other fish. They are also known for their omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart and brain health. 

If you like bluefish but want to tone down the flavor a bit, try removing the dark strip of meat on the fillet before cooking. Cutting the outer bands of dark meat along the midline of a mackerel will also make its flavor less pronounced. 

Bowl of Hawaiian ahi tuna poke placed on top of a big, green Monstera delicosa leaf and wooden table.
Bowl of ‘ahi poke served shoyu style, with soy sauce, green onions, sweet onions, and sesame seeds. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Katie Davis
NOAA Fisheries arms you with the facts about what makes U.S. seafood sustainable—from the ocean or farm to your plate. Get up-to-date information on the status of harvested marine fish and farmed fish, and learn more about various aspects of U.S. seafood.