Lings, Cusks & Tusk
This eel-like looking fish has mottled orangey-pink skin (fish from deeper waters tending to be more pink than orange).
Available wild-caught, it is a bottom-dwelling marine fish found along the southern coast of Australia, from Perth to Port Macquarie including Bass Strait and around Tasmania, in open waters on the continental shelf and upper slopes to 800m, often buried in holes on soft bottoms. It is mainly caught off the south-eastern coast by trawlers, as well as using bottom-set longlines, mesh nets, traps and droplines.
Ophidiidae (Cusk Eels).
Available year round.
Size and Weight
Commonly 600g-4.5kg and 50-90cm, but can grow to 20kg and 160cm.
Assfish, Codfish (Blue Grenadier, Ribaldo, Southern Hake, Southern Rock Cod), Cusks (including Australian Cusk and Chameleon Cusk), Rock Ling, Tusk.
Rarely seen whole, as it is quite an unattractive fish coated in a thick layer of mucous; usually sold as skinless, boneless fillets and occasionally as trunks (headless), cutlets or steaks. In cutlets, steaks and fillets look for pale pink-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Wrap whole fish (gilled and gutted), fillets, cutlets or steaks in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets, cutlets or steaks for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.
Average yield is 45%. Has a mild flavour, low oiliness and moist, firm flesh, with dense, large flakes and few bones. The centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity.
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke. Thin fillets are best wrapped in foil or banana leaves if baking or barbecuing, to prevent them drying out. Because of its moistness, it works well in mousseline or minced for fish cakes and fish balls. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.
Goes Well With
Butter, chilli, citrus, garlic, herbs (dill, parsley, French tarragon, thyme), olive oil.
Angel Shark, Barramundi, Blue-eye Trevalla, Coral Trout, Gemfish.
Chilled and frozen fillets, and frozen trunks, are imported from New Zealand (where it is sometimes called Hoka or Hokarari).
Seafood Pie with Leek, Garlic & Chives
Stir-Fried Ling with Onion, Black Beans & Chilli