Ever wondered – what does sheepshead fish taste like?
You must have heard about this fish from your angling friends. Or perhaps you have seen pictures of the internet and got curious about it.
One thing is for sure – sheepshead fish aren’t the best-looking fish out there. But they are surprisingly delicious!
So, that’s our focus for today – what this “fish with human teeth” taste like, what’s good (or bad) about them, and some cooking tips and fun recipes for this fish. Let’s get munching!
What Does Sheepshead Fish Taste Like
In a nutshell, sheepshead fish taste quite sweet. The flavor is likened to shellfish, which makes it rather interesting and appealing to many people.
This is why there are many ways you can prepare this fish. You will love the tender and rather flaky texture of the flesh, which you can flavor with a variety of seasonings.
Additionally, the meat has a somewhat oily quality to it. There is a firmness to the flesh, yet a bit moist.
If you have eaten triggerfish before, you will find a close resemblance between the two in terms of taste. Moreover, it is a little bit like the black bass, yet with a more distinct texture and taste.
Because of the great moisture and oil content of the fish, the flesh develops a flaky but firm and sweet flavor in your mouth. Overall, it is quite a fascinating fish to eat because of all of these nuances when it comes to the texture, flavor, and even the nutritional value, which we will touch on in a bit.
Sheepshead Fish – Ugly Fish With A Remarkable Quality
From the outside, the sheepshead fish is not at all appealing to look at.
In fact, it does not look good at all. The head is too big and the teeth are like a human’s chompers.
It does appear as something from an obscure alien movie. But beyond the appearance, there are so many things to appreciate about this fish.
For instance, it is actually quite healthy.
The diet of this fish is interesting as it feeds on crustaceans and shellfish including clams, mollusks, and fiddler crabs. The strange teeth it got is what allows it to grind the barnacles it scrapes from various surfaces.
But overall, this is a solid fish that you could ever find in the water. The texture is unbelievably distinct in comparison with several other fish species.
When you cook this fish, you will notice the flesh turns quite flaky. Thus, it is delicate and soft in your mouth. This is unlike the other types of fish that ends up flaky and dry. Sheepshead retains its oily quality and moisture, so the flesh remains firm and compact.
And yes, the oil impacts the flavor and gives it a hint of sweetness.
Cooking Tips for Sheepshead Fish
We can never fully address the question, “What does sheepshead fish taste like” if we don’t talk about ways to cook it.
After all, you’re not eating it raw!
Hence, it is good to touch on some pointers on how to prepare and cook this beautiful gem from the sea.
Since sheepshead has a versatile texture, there are so many ways for you to cook it. Some of the cooking techniques include baking, roasting, grilling, frying, and boiling.
But for those who specialize in preparing sheepshead fish, the most ultimate preparation technique is to bake it after adding some seasonings to it.
First, you need to fillet it, clean it, then season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Afterwards, you will bake it at 450 degrees in the oven.
Place the fillets in a large baking dish and drizzle some olive oil on top. Pat some butter and your choice of herbs on the fillets, which can tone down the shellfish flavor. We highly recommend using parsley and oregano to further enhance the flavor and aroma.
Next, squeeze some lemon, which will give it a delightful zesty taste.
An Appetizing Sheepshead Fish Recipe
When you bake sheepshead, be sure to turn the head down from 450 to 350 degrees. You will need to cook it some more until it has reached 15 minutes.
The idea is to ensure the flakiness and tenderness of the meat prior to taking it out of the heat source.
Once you have it ready, you can serve this baked fish with either bread or chips. The choice is all up to you!
Final Word on Sheepshead Fish
Considering that the diet of sheepshead fish consists mainly of shellfish, you can just expect that this fish actually tastes like what it eats!
It is like eating mussels, oysters and clams… Yet it is actually a fish!
You can simply look past the odd-looking set of chompers that this fish has, which it uses to scrape and munch its shelled food. It may not be the most beautiful fish out there, but trust us – the flavor is simply out of this world. And it’s very nutritious, too!
As for the texture of the flesh, it is quite fascinating as it is flaky, moist, and somewhat oily. Every bite is so tender, and the skin is even quite savory. Just be careful when you remove the scales, as they are rather large and can be difficult to scrape off.
So, go ahead and catch yourself this sheepshead fish and enjoy the amazing flavor and texture it has. It is available all year round, although the best months to catch this fish are from December all the way through April.
Look for areas around the bridges, jetties, and docks, as well as locations with deepwater access. Live bait works best, which allows you to catch these fish easily.
Once you have a bite of this fish, you will realize that it is truly one of the finest you have ever had. Enjoy!