The Fish We Cook, Hoki and Hake
Hoki is a saltwater fish from the hake family closely related to the cod. It can be found in the waters of New Zealand and Australia in water up to 3300 feet deep. It is commonly marketed under the name New Zealand Whiting and can also be found under the names of grenadiers, blue hake, whiptail or whiptail hake. They reproduce in large quantities and are fast growing, making them important fish commercially. The average hoki is 3 to 4 pounds but they can grow to 15 pounds and 47 inches in length. They are blue-green to silver in color. The hoki fillet is white in color and has a darker lateral line. Behind this line is an area of fat. In the United States this is often removed because of the strong flavor. When this is done it makes the fillet mild in flavor and is then used in many fast food restaurants as breaded fish sticks or patties. Hoki meat is usually sold frozen because it does not hold up very well. It has a dense white flesh that is high in omega 3 and is mild and slightly sweet in flavor. The best way to cook hoki is to bake, broil, deep fry, pan fry, steam or sauté.
Hake or whiting, as it is sometimes called, is a small member of the cod family and can be found on the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to North Carolina. The red hake and white hake are true hake but the silver hake which is the type normally called whiting belongs to a different family. A fairly inexpensive fish because of its abundance, the whiting is found as a main ingredient in many types of frozen fish sticks and fillets. It has a brown back with silver tinges and a silver belly. The hake has a back fin running the full length of the fish's body and it averages 1 to 8 pounds but can reach 60 pounds and 4 feet in length and have a lifespan of about 14 years. True hake do not freeze as well as most fish. They have a tendency to turn mushy. It has a soft, flaky flesh that is somewhat mild in flavor and moderately fat. After cooking it will have a pale color and remain very moist. The best way to cook hake is to Deep fry, Pan Fry, Poach or bake.
Tom J Bergerson