Cooks often divide fish into two categories, fatty (or oily or rich) and lean. These two categories can be split again, by whether their texture is firm or flaky.
Fatty, firm fish include tuna, eels, catfish, shark, and swordfish.
Fatty, flaky fish include salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines.
Lean, firm fish include grouper, lingcod, mahi-mahi, and striped bass.
Lean, flaky fish include cod, flatfish, and rockfish.
Shellfish aren't technically fish, but they're usually sold at the fish counter, so we've lumped them into this category.
See also: Smoked or dried fish.
Asian markets sell this inexpensive roe in wooden boxes. It's often baked and served on rice.Learn more
This category includes the scup = fair maid, sea bream, red porgy, sheepshead porgy, shad porgy, whitebone porgy, and jolthead porgy. Porgies tend to be bony, but they're highly prized for their delicate flavor.Learn more
Species include; coho salmon, chinook salmon, red sockeye, pink salmon, and chum salmon. Unopened canned salmon can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.Learn more
Unopened canned sardines can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, they will keep for up to two days if you wrap them well and refrigerate them.Learn more
This coral-colored roe is expensive and hard to find, but it has a wonderful, delicate flavor. The roe is usually both sold and served with the scallop that produced it.Learn more
In recent years, over-fishing in the Caspian Sea has greatly depleted sturgeon populations. Please consider using caviar and roe from more abundant species until the Caspian Sea sturgeon populations can recover. Greenish-gray sevruga has the smallest eggs and strongest flavor of all the caviars. Because of this, it's cheaper than beluga or ossetra, but still quite good. If substituting an inferior caviar, consider perking it up with a splash of fresh lemon juice. For substitutions for caviar in general, click here.Learn more
You can buy lobes of this roe fresh in the springtime, or in cans during the rest of the year. Canned shad roe is good, but not quite as good as fresh.Learn more
There are many different species of shrimp, but generally speaking, the larger the shrimp, the tastier. In the US and Britain, large shrimp are called prawns; in India, all shrimp are prawns. Bay shrimp are very small. You can buy shrimp raw (sometimes called green), or cooked. Don't buy cooked shrimp if you plan to serve it warm--they turns rubbery when reheated. Unopened canned shrimp can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate itLearn more
Skates are delicious, but many people are put off by their bizarre looks. Only the wings are edible. Like their shark relatives, skates have cartilage and tough, sandpapery skin. One way to loosen the skin is to poach them briefly in a mixture of three parts water, one part vinegar. After you peel off the skin, the wing can be further poached, or baked or fried.Learn more