What does an amberjack taste like?
You might have heard of this seafood or seen it in a supermarket and you are wondering, what does an amberjack taste like? Is it delicious, worth eating, or are there better fish options? In this article, we are going to examine amberjack’s texture, taste, flavor, and uses in the kitchen.
What is amberjack?
The amberjack also referred to as yellowtail kingfish is a generic name used for different kinds of fish in the jack family. There are variations of the amberjack including, the California yellowtail, king amberjack, racing tuna, Hamachi, lesser amberjack, almaco jack, wild amberjack or the greater amberjack.
Amberjacks are generally blue, purplish-green, or bluish-green above and below, silver-shite. You could easily tell that it is amberjack from their yellow caudal fins. Did you know that most amberjacks like the wild amberjack usually house parasites? well, they do so you have to be careful when choosing amberjack.
What does amberjack taste like?
Generally, amberjack has a similar taste to mahi-mahi. Usually, culinary chefs describe the flavor of the fish as being a sweet cross between tuna and mahi-mahi- but it is not exactly as mild as mahi-mahi and steak-like as tuna.
Amberjack has a steak-like consistency like a swordfish but it is juicier and succulent. As for its texture, we can say it is a little tougher.
Size also plays a role in the way this fish will taste. When it grows and becomes bigger, its flavor intensity increases. The smaller sizes are best for eating and have a milder taste. Also, some parts of the fish are richer in flavor and hence, better for eating.
The best part of this meat is the steaks produced from the loins, providing meat fillets with large flakes. The part that is unpleasant to eat is the bloodline (the red line of meat) and should be taken out for food safety reasons.
Other parts of the meat like its belly are edible but not as flavorful and tasty as the others.
Using it in any of your dishes will leave a delicious taste in your mouth. It is perfect for almost any cooking method like broiling, smoking, grilling, baking, and frying.
The amberjack has a pale pink flesh with large flakes and a sweet flavor. Amberjack is a healthy seafood that delivers lots of benefits to the body.
In summary, the flavor of this fish is mild-medium. Its texture is one we will describe as firm and flaky. Fishiness is graded low-medium. The amberjack is creamy white in color when cooked and it has a low oil content.
Recommended seasoning for amberjack
Fresh and tender amberjack is naturally flavorful and tasty or with an addition of olive oil, salt, and pepper. For extra flavor, you could season it with the spices and herbs below:
- Salt and pepper
Best side dishes for amberjack
If you are wondering what kind of food pairs well with amberjack or what is the best side dish for amberjack, the answer is below.
Amberjack could pair perfectly with different flavors. You could get creative and try a variety of dishes but try not to overwhelm this mildly flavored dish. We have selected a few side dishes for you below:
- Grilled vegetables
- Garden salad
- Tartar sauce
How can I choose good amberjack?
Amberjacks are rarely sought after by anglers. They are usually caught while searching for larger and desirable fishes like tuna and sharks. But, amberjack is also a good fish and even though it is not most desirable, it can be eaten and enjoyed.
To find good amberjack at your local fish market, take note of the tips below.
- Ensure the fish has a mild aroma, one that is like the ocean. Avoid any amberjack that has a more pungent aroma.
- Amberjacks with tight scales, shiny skin, and deep red gills are perfect for eating and will taste great.
- Make sure there is no sign of slime, bruise, or cuts on the skin.
- If you are looking to buy fresh fillets or steaks, ensure they are firm with no discoloration. It should have a translucent color with a mild aroma.
Grilled amberjack recipe
This is a quick and easy recipe for grilling amberjack. You could start by keeping the fish in a marinade for 30 minutes to improve its flavor and deliciousness.
Serving: 4 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic
- A pinch of salt
- 4 amberjack steaks
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Mix the sugar, vinegar, lemon, juice, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and salt in a shallow dish.
- Place the fish in this mixture and allow to marinate for 30 minutes and turn at the halfway point. Ensure that all the sides of the fish are coated in this sauce.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper and then add it to the grill.
- Cook each side of the fish for four minutes or till the flesh looks opaque and till its flakes easily pull apart.
You could add the fish and marinade to a plastic bag if you do not have a shallow dish. Also, know that thin fillets about ½ inch thick do not need to be turned during cooking. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the amberjack. Try not to overcook the fish as it will become dry and tough very fast.
Other suitable cooking options.
Amberjack holds well when boiled, grilled, smoked, poached, or baked. This is because of its firm flesh. It also holds well together in chunks added to fish stew or kabobs. The common methods of cooking amberjack include grilling, broiling, pan-frying, and smoking.
Amberjack can be broken into salads, sauces or used as a major ingredient in seafood chowder. If you have leftover fish, you can chill it and use it in tuna subs or tuna bakes as a replacement for canned tuna.
Good substitutes for amberjack include sharks, mahi-mahi, mullet, or tilefish.
The amberjack is an amazing fish in its world. While most of us love it, others hate it. This fish has a great taste and we recommend you try it out. It has a more intense flavor than other options such as haddock or red snapper.
Did you try the grilled amberjack recipe in this article? How was it? Let’s find out in the comment section. And if you have tried the amberjack before, how would you describe its taste. We would love to know.