Barracuda (Sphyraena sphyraena) Also known as sea pike and giant pike, these members of the Sphyraenidae family are fast, aggressive predators with plenty of sharp teeth. They are found in several oceans but are essentially warm-water marine dwellers known to frequent tropical reef areas. Species include the great barracuda of the Western Pacific, and the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic species. They vary in size, but only smaller specimens should be eaten because the toxins that can cause ciguatera poisoning affect larger fish. (This affects a handful of fish that live in some reef areas. Ciguatera poisoning has no effect on the fish, but it can cause extremely unpleasant symptoms in those who consume it, and is known to be fatal in a small number of cases.) Avoid marinating this fish for too long – particularly in an acidic juice – as the flesh will change texture and can become dry when cooked.

CUTS Both fresh and frozen: whole fish; fillets.

EAT Cooked: Barracuda can be pan-fried, grilled, deep-fried, or roasted. Preserved: Smoked barracuda is available.

FLAVOUR PAIRINGS Olive oil, garlic, paprika, spices, coconut.


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