Tilefish: Main Image

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Buying Tips

Quality tilefish is easy to recognize. Fresh tilefish never smells fishy; it smells fresh like the ocean. The eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive. The gills should be reddish, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering, shiny scales. Fresh tilefish flesh will give slightly when you press it with a finger, then spring back into shape. When choosing tilefish fillets, whether they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh.


Most tilefish on the market are golden tilefish, caught in deep water off the East Coast of the United States. The smaller gray tilefish, caught in Florida and called blackline tilefish, has somewhat softer flesh. Domestic tilefish is sold fresh, whole and cleaned, or as fillets. Imported tilefish comes fresh and frozen.

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