These Are The Most Underrated Fish You Should Try, According To An Expert

When you think of fish as an average consumer, species like tuna, salmon, and tilapia may come to mind. No surprise there, as these are some of the most-consumed fish for in the country, per IntraFish (or the coolest fish in the school, if you will). But as the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and you ought to give some less popular varieties a chance.

Joe Gurrera, the owner and original fishmonger of epicurean market chain Citarella, knows his fish. The culinary authority has dedicated four decades of his life to everything seafood, so when he told us there's more delicious fish out there than first meets the palate, we listened intently.

Speaking with Mashed, Gurrera said the first step in trying a new variety of fish starts with going to a reputable and experienced fishmonger. "They will know exactly what to recommend based on your tastes, preferences, and market availability," he said. At that point, he recommends asking them questions about when and where the fish was caught so you know it's fresh. As for what Gurrera himself would suggest? He says some of the most delicious and underrated fish are those local to Atlantic waters.

These underrated fish taste amazing

Several underrated fish varieties are not only nutritious and excellent in taste, but they're also a bargain compared to popular picks, per Gurrera. Some of the professional's top choices when you're in the mood to venture beyond salmon and tuna are skate, porgies, and bluefish.

According to Gurrera, porgies are white-fleshed fish that are perfect for those who prefer seafood with a mild, delicate flavor. Although de-boning the fish takes time, he says it's worth the effort for the "delicious" meat, which is "almost sweet, kind of like a red snapper." 

If you're someone who loves a fishy taste, on the other hand, bluefish's "bold" flavor might appeal to your taste buds, especially when grilled. And for something that falls somewhere in the middle on the fishiness scale, Gurrera recommends skate, which is unique in that it's meaty rather than flaky. "Lightly dusted with flour, cooked in a sauté pan, and served with a sauce of butter, lemon zest, and capers," skate is ready to serve, Gurrera says.

Gurrera's tip on cooking lesser known fish

Gurrera has a foolproof method of cooking his fish no matter the variety: "All seafood can be cooked with just some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and be absolutely delicious," he said. The key, he advised, lies in the timing. "If you overcook any seafood, you've ruined it. A simple preparation using the correct cooking time is essential — whether you're baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing or poaching."

Although Gurrera prefers fresh fish, he will sometimes reach for a jar of tuna and put it in a simple salad. You probably know how strong the flavor of tinned fish like sardines or anchovies is, but swapping those with fresh ones is a game changer. "I'm a fan of Portuguese sardines, which are much bigger in size than the tinned variety and so much better tasting," Gurrera revealed. As for how he prepares them, he likes a good sear with olive oil and salt, but his secret is "a thin coating of Wondra flour to help crisp up the skin and lock in the flavorful juices" — a tip you could apply to any fin fish.