The tilefish is a saltwater fish found in tropical or temperate waters around the world. They can grow from around 2 pounds to as much as 50 pounds. The major fishing grounds in the US are off eastern Florida, southern New Jersey, and the tip of Long Island, New York. They got their name from the lovely colors they have while in the sea: blue, green, rose and yellow. These colors fade when they are out of the water.

The tilefish is a white, low-fat meat, and a taste similar to a lobster and crab. The tilefish meat holds well, it is great for baking, broiling, frying, grilling, poaching and steaming, and can also be used in soups and stews, offering us different options to prepare it.


Other names: Blanquillo
Translations: Cekulzivs, Πλακολεπιδόψαρο, Tile, アマダイ, 옥돔, Fahnenbarsche, Тилефисх, Płytecznik, Teglfisk, Tegelvis, Blanquillo, Тайлфіш, 方头鱼, Тайлфиш, Blanquillo

Physical Description

The golden tilefish is the most colorful fish with a blue-green back that fades to a pearly white belly. It is touched with red and blue iridescence, highlighted by irregular yellow-gold spots and ocean-blue under the eyes. Combined with these colorful markings is the adipose flag or crest on the head.

Colors: Blue-green scales, White belly, Yellow-gold spots

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Salty, Mild
Mouthfeel: Savory
Food complements: Vegetables, Mashed potatoes, Rice
Wine complements: Red wine
Substitutes: Monkfish, Snapper, Grouper

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Remember to purchase seafood last and keep it cold during the trip home.
Fresh whole fish should have:
-- A shiny surface with tightly adhering scales.
-- Gills that are deep red or pink, free of slime, mucus and off-odor.
-- Clean shiny belly cavity with no cuts or protruding bones.
-- A mild aroma, similar to the ocean.
Buying: Pick out tilefish at your local fish market. There is little variation between different seasons.
Procuring: Along the southeastern coast and in the Gulf, tilefish live in burrows and sometimes congregate in pods or small groups at depths ranging from 200 to more than 1,400 feet. As tilefish become larger they tend to live at greater depths.Adults weigh an average of 10-25 pounds.

Preparation and Use

The general rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, at the thickest part of the fillet or steak, at 400-450 degrees F.
• If fish is cooked in parchment, foil or a sauce, add 5 minutes to the total cooking time.Fish cooks quickly. Do not overcook.
• Fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
• Poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, sautéing, microwaving are excellent low-fat cooking methods, if you do not add high fat ingredients.

Cleaning: Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to prevent bacterial cross-contamination.
• After handling raw seafood thoroughly wash knives, cutting surfaces, sponges and your hands with hot soapy water.
• Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
• Discard marinade; it contains raw juices which may harbor bacteria.
• When marinade is needed for basting reserve a portion before adding raw seafood

Conserving and Storing

Store tilefish either refrigerated for use immediately or in the freezer for long term storage.



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Mika's picture

Tilefish is so cute :) I like to have a pet like that.