Snook (Black & Common)
Black Snook [Robalo, Black Snook Centropomus nigrescens (west coast), Common Snook C. undecimalis (east coast), family Centropomidae (Snooks)]

The Common Snook, found on the eastern coast of the Americas from North Carolina to Brazil, grows to 4-1/2 feet and 53 pounds. Black Snook, found on the western coast of the Americas from southern Baja California to northern Columbia, grows to 4 feet and 57 pounds, but the photo specimen was 16-3/4 inches and 1-1/4 pounds (factory cleaned). These two snooks look very similar except the Black is darker above the centerline.

Snook has a moderate but distinct flavor. Fillets hold together well enough for poaching but I don't care for it cooked that way. I think the flavor works much better dusting lightly with rice flour and frying.

This fish is completely covered with smallish scales that scrape off easily and fly about only moderately. The gills are firmly attached and a bit spiny so you'll probably want to use kitchen shears to remove them.

Snook presents no particularly filleting problems. This is a meaty round fish so yield is good with a 1-1/4 pound fish yielding 11.4 ounces of skinless fillet (57%) - but that was from a factory gutted fish so you'll get a little less from one with a full set of innards.

The skin does not have a strong flavor but it does shrinks a lot when fried so should be removed using the usual long knife and cutting board method. Head fins and bones make a strongish stock which I don't much care for with a fair amount of oil.

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