If you thought the firm, white flesh of ling looks similar to cod, you would be right. Ling fish is a member of the cod family, which includes rockfish and pollock as well as Pacific and Atlantic cod. You might see the fish advertised as New Zealand ling fillet. Like the rest of its family, ling is versatile when it comes to cooking methods and tastes flavorful and juicy whether baked, fried, poached or steamed.
1. Baking Ling
A ling cod fillet cooks quickly, so set a timer and remove the fish from the oven as soon as the cooking time is up. For a 4-ounce skinless fish fillet with a brown, crunchy crust, heat olive oil in a frying pan until it's hot and pan fry the ling on both sides until it's golden brown. Place the fillet on a baking tray and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 4 minutes.
Alternatively, for a skin-on fillet that weighs 6 to 8 ounces, grease a piece of aluminum foil and place the ling on it, skin-side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper and add a dab of butter. Draw up the sides of the foil, fold them together to make a tent and bake the fish in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Frying Ling
Frying ling seals in the fish's juices. Use skin-on ling fillet for frying. Add about 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil or vegetable oil to a frying pan and heat the pan on medium heat. Spread a small handful of flour on a plate and then season the flour with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the same amount of pepper.
Mix the seasoning into the flour and coat both sides of the fish by dipping it in the flour. Lift up the fish and shake it to shed the excess flour. Place the ling skin-side down in the heated oil and season the flesh side.
Fry the fish until it's about three-quarters cooked. The flesh turns white as it cooks. Turn the heat to low and turn over the fish to cook it on the flesh side for about 1 more minute.
3. Poaching Ling
Ling poached in milk is succulent and delicious. You can eat the fish directly after poaching or put it in a pie. Remove the skin from skin-on ling or use skinless ling. For a piece of fish that weighs 8 ounces, you'll need 12 ounces of milk.
If you plan on putting the poached fish in a pie, chop it into chunks before poaching it. Pour the milk into a wide, shallow saucepan and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Heat the milk until it begins to simmer but don't allow it to boil.
Place the ling in the hot milk and simmer it for about 5 minutes. Check if the fish is cooked by inserting the tip of a knife into the flesh and pulling it apart a little.
4. Steaming Ling
Steamed fish is a classic dish of Asian cuisine. You can cook it with the traditional ginger, scallions and spices of those dishes or steam it more simply on its own or with vegetables.
Season the ling with salt and let it sit at room temperature for 10 or 15 minutes, during which time you can prepare the other ingredients in your recipe. When you're ready to begin cooking, heat 1 inch of water in the bottom of your steamer until it simmers.
If you're steaming the ling in the same steamer as other ingredients that you wish to serve separately, place the fillet on a piece of grease-proof paper before putting it in the steamer. A piece of ling fillet that weighs 6 ounces steams in about 5 minutes.