Coley is one of the least expensive fish in the cod family and is a great sustainable substitute for cod or haddock in many recipes. Coley has a distinctive coal-coloured skin with a thick white line running laterally along its body; the belly fades to pale silver. Raw fillets have a pink-grey flesh that becomes paler and flaky when cooked. Coley is excellent when eaten very fresh. It’s also known as saithe or coalfish.
Coley is readily available, both fresh and frozen. It is caught in the North Atlantic in the USA and Europe. It’s usually filleted, but headless whole fish are also available. It is also occasionally available dried and smoked.
Fillets require either skinning or scaling if the skin is left on and pin-boning before or after cooking. It is an excellent, inexpensive fish that can be used for deep-frying in batter or breadcrumbs or poached for use in fish pies. Coley is also excellent in fish casseroles and soups.
Article by CJ Jackson
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