New Zealand whiting
Hoki, New Zealand whiptail, blue hake, blue grenadier
Merlu à longue queue
Hoki is no looker, but a rather homely, tapered, rat-tailed specimen. It’s blue-green above and silvery on the sides and belly. Hoki belongs to the hake family Merluccidae. This deepwater species is harvested year-round from depths of from 600 to 2,500 feet by trawlers working waters off New Zealand, southern Australia and Tasmania. These vessels typically process and freeze the catch at sea. Hoki average between 3 and 4 pounds but can reach up to 15 pounds. Virtually all hoki consumed in the United States is imported frozen from New Zealand. Most fresh hoki fillets are marketed in New Zealand and Australia, though limited supplies are available for export. A significant share of New Zealand’s hoki resource is processed into surimi for export to Japan. Hoki is also excellent for forming into blocks and is suited to further processing into a wide range of value-added products.
Hoki has a delicate, sweet flavor similar to that of haddock after cooking. The lean meat is moist and firm but flakes easily. This cousin of the cod has moist, bright-white flesh, occasionally with pinkish tinges, that remains white when cooked.Hoki fillets are long and thin and have a strip of fat beneath the lateral line. This should be removed to improve flavor. Fat-line-out hoki makes an excellent alternative to cod, whiting, pollock and other groundfish species. Defatted blocks are excellent for breaded and battered portions.
Fragile hoki is best if cooked frozen, except when breading, deep frying or stuffing. Hoki has a limited shelf life and should be cooked within 24 hours after it thaws. Don’t refreeze.
Hake, Flounder, Haddock