What Is Orange Roughy And What Does It Taste Like?

Would you rather eat a fish called a slimehead or an orange roughy? Well, according to Oceana, both kinds of fish are one in the same — the seafood industry changed the name of slimeheads to the more appetizing "orange roughy" when the fish goes to market. This remarkable species has only entered our common diet fairly recently. According to Discover, the fish became widely available in the 1970s, but due to overfishing and environmental concerns, many grocery chains refuse to stock orange roughy.

In addition to the increasing rarity of the species, its longevity also adds to its unique appeal; the average lifespan of an orange roughy clocks in at around 150 years, with one of the oldest caught having been estimated to be 250 years old (via Discover). Despite their age and original name, the flavors contained in the fish, when prepared correctly, can make any mouth water.

According to Find Any Answer, you couldn't find a milder, more delicate fish. The flavor resembles those found in ocean perch, blackfish, flounder, sole, haddock, red snapper, and tilapia, and its moist, flaky meat holds up in almost every kind of cooking style. Many have also compared orange roughy's mild, sweet, and white meat to that of lobster, earning it the nickname "poor man's lobster," (via Find Any Answer).

A delicate, flaky fish for all occasions

While orange roughy provides for some very flavorful preparation styles, the fish's longevity means it has the potential to absorb a ton of mercury throughout its life. This can be a problem for consumers who will get those heavy metals passed onto them after eating (via Find Any Answer). Despite the potential to pass on mercury, the fish contains very little fat and calories, making it a great choice for those who are diet-conscious (via Find Any Answer). Orange roughy has a ton of pros and cons when it comes to deciding whether or not to serve one up for dinner, but if you love seafood, this tender fish won't disappoint.

No matter what kind of fish you like, orange roughy can please any seafood novice or aficionado; just make sure to dine responsibly, as this fish potentially faces endangerment status (via Find Any Answer). If you don't mind the fact that it once held the name "slimehead," anyone can get excited about seeing this increasingly rare fish on the menu for a special occasion.