Pollock is the common name used for either of the two species of North Pacific fish in the genus Gadus (the other being Atlantic pollock or European pollock, Gadus morhua). The term also applies to the edible fillets of these fishes. The larger of the two species, Alaska pollock (or walleye pollock), is the main commercial fish species.
The flesh of these fish has flakes that are relatively large (the flake texture is apparent in canned form) and golden-colored; it is often used as a lower-cost substitute for cod and haddock in some packaged seafood products, particularly in the United Kingdom, where it is referred to as "whitening".
In Japan, pollock is known as sanma (サンマ) or atka mackerel. It is a very popular fish used commonly for grilling. In Russia, the fish is known as "vyrezka" (вырезка), which means "cut", because it has no lateral line or keel on its sides. Pollock is also eaten in Italy, where it is called colomba (dove) and in France, where it is known as a bar, and it is often grilled. Pollock along with cod is the most commonly eaten fish in the United Kingdom, where they are considered to be white. They are not related to the North American walleye.
Pollock is high in protein, low in fat, rich in calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, iron and essential omega-3 fatty acids. It is a popular dish in Hawaii, Alaska, and northern Europe. In the United States, Atlantic pollock is often substituted for cod or haddock in some dishes, particularly New England-style chowders. In fast-food chains, it is used as a fish sandwich base to which fried shrimp may be added.
The flesh of the pollock is exothermic (causing it to cook when in contact with hot oil or water). The white meat has a low fat content and mild flavor, but the belly area contains much connective tissue and can become quite greasy during cooking. The average proximate composition of Alaska pollock is 10% protein, 2% fat, and 1.5% ash (USDA). When filleted, the meat yield is about 50%, varying with season, size of fish, and sex.
Pollock eggs contain a growth hormone that stimulates the production of growth factors that promote rapid cell division in embryonic development. Pollock has been cultivated as a food source for humans and domestic pets in Germany, the United States and Ukraine. Pollock roe (eggs) is processed to make caviar. Delicacies made from pollock eggs include imitation "black" caviar and salmon roe.
Although it has a slightly higher fat content than other cod species, pollock is a low-fat fish because most of its fat is unsaturated fatty acids. It has a rich, full flavor that does not seem to diminish with cooking.