Wolf fish

Selling “Underutilized” Species Is Where The Margin Is

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Anyone can sell an American Red, the “Cadilac of red snappers”, caught in the Gulf of Mexico. It tastes fabulous and all your customers are familiar with it and would readily order it. But at $23/lb for fillets ($9.58 for 6 oz on a plate), it is tough to charge less than $40 per entree and make a profit or a decent margin. That’s where underutilized species come in, offering delicious taste at an affordable price. These species often lack the name recognition of well-known options like wild halibut and king salmon, but they’re just as tasty.

Let’s take a closer look at some examples of these lesser-known species:

Hake: Also known as Merluza, this fish is similar to cod and has white, flaky meat that adapts well to many cooking methods. It’s the number one fish consumed in Spain and is often trawl-caught off New England and eastern Canada. With fillets selling for under $9/lb most of the time and sometimes under $7, hake is a great option for any chef.

Skate Wing: These skinless fillets from the “Leopard Ray” are popular on high-end menus in NYC. They have white meat and a great flavor, similar to fluke. They are mostly caught off Rhode Island but can be found as far south as Chincoteague Virginia. With skinless fillets always priced between $7 and $8 per pound, it’s a fantastic option to try.

Wild Blue Cat: We have an inexhaustible supply of this fish in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s white, flaky, and has a mild-taste. As the top predator in the Bay, it eats everything a wild rockfish eats. Plus, fillets cost less than 50 cents an ounce! With a current biomass estimate of over 1 billion pounds, wild blue cat is a great option for chefs looking for an affordable and sustainable choice.

Scup: Also known as Porgy, these fish have a slightly sweet, mild flavor with flaky white flesh. Their small size makes them ideal for baking or frying whole, and we can butterfly them with a 24-hour notice. Typically not expensive (less than $4 whole), millions of pounds are landed in Rhode Island alone.

Spanish Mackerel: This fish is often used in sushi and has snow-white meat that tastes delicious when cooked. It usually moves into the Maryland area in late July and August. It is caught off Florida now, migrating north as spring progresses. With fillets always under $10/lb, it’s a great option for chefs looking for affordable fish with fantastic taste.

Albacore Tuna: While not a targeted species, albacore is a by-catch of the longline tuna fleet. Caught in the Gulf and the Atlantic, albacores are an inexpensive tuna loin. With meat that’s lean (not much fat), it cooks quickly and is perfect for a fresh tuna fish salad dish. Almost always under $7 per pound, this fish a great addition to all menus.

Fresh Farmed Tilapia Fillets: This fish is firm with white flesh and a mild flavor that lends itself well to many different cooking applications. At under $6/lb, these natural fillets are the perfect portion size and an affordable option for budget-conscious chefs.

Icelandic Fish: These unique Icelandic fish are cut and flown directly non-stop on a 5-hour flight to BWI. The quality of these fish is phenomenal. Haddock and the redfish (in the perch family) come scaled skin-on, while the wolf fish is skinless. All three species sell for less than $10/lb, and they require pre-orders, but we get 3 shipments a week of fresh cod loins direct from Iceland, so it’s easy to add them on. Try some soon and see for yourself how delicious they are!

Dry Scallop Chunks: These beauties are large pieces of whole scallops that come at a fraction of the price, making them a smart and delicious choice for your favorite recipes. They are a byproduct of the scallop-shucking process. Straight from the pristine waters of New Bedford, these dry scallop chunks will add a touch of luxury to any dish without breaking the bank. Don’t miss out on this culinary treasure!

Prices are subject to change