As Ling grow bigger, they tend to eat bigger fish, not necessarily larger quantities. They are lazy by nature and like to take life at an easy pace. They have even been known to snack on white plastic cups – as they look like a dead squid to a Ling and worth a speculative munch.
Cooking / Eating Benefits
Ling is generally considered the poorer (or cheaper) relation to the cod. In the nineteenth century it was associated with the Irish immigrant community in the more impoverished parts of London. Salted and dried Ling was a staple of the markets in these areas, where it was popular with the poor, probably because cod was too expensive. Taste and texture wise Ling is similar to cod, just a little firmer and chewier. Usually available as fillets, ling requires its skin and pin bones removing either before or after cooking. It’s a versatile fish and works well in fish pies, soups and stews. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall suggests that thick fillets of Ling, lightly salted and cold smoked for a good twelve hours or more, make a robust and satisfying alternative to smoked haddock, and can be the making of a fine chowder, tart or kedgeree.
As the Ling population doesn’t get the environmental or scientific attention of its cousin the cod, not much is known about current stocks in UK waters. However a line caught Ling from inshore waters caught outside the spawning period makes an occasional, seasonal treat.