i was doing a search on cusk and found this site. what do they mean by *if handled properly*? this is from the university of delaware sea grant program.
The spiny dogfish is a small, slender shark with a flattened head and a snout that tapers to a blunt tip. Like the smooth dogfish, its mouth is full of low, flat, grinding teeth, but it also possesses an extra set of teeth that are small, yet very sharp.
Although spiny dogfish and smooth dogfish are around the same size on the average (about 3 feet long, 7-10 pounds), the spiny dogfish has two distinguishing features: rows of small white dots run along its slate-gray sides, and a sharp spine is found in front of each of its two dorsal fins.
The spines of the spiny dogfish are formed from material much like that of our teeth. Growth zones marked on the spines enable us to determine the age of the shark. Surprisingly, some have been found that are 25-30 years old! The spiny dogfish uses its spines defensively when it curls around in a bow to strike an enemy. It is very probable that the spines are slightly poisonous.
Spiny dogfish are not seen very often in winter because they spend most of their time in the deeper waters offshore. However, anyone who has ever fished for cod in the Mid-Atlantic region is well aware of the spiny dogfish -- it seems to take any bait offered. Yet because it has no great value on the local market, commercial fishermen consider the spiny dogfish a pest. Recreational anglers shun it, too, because it is not very active and puts up little resistance when hooked.
Fishermen have long accused dogfish schools, which sometimes number in the thousands, of intruding on populations of valuable food fishes, such as salmon, haddock, cod, and mackerel. However, food-habit studies have shown that the spiny dogfish feeds mostly on herring and herring-like fish, "trash fish", squid, shrimp, crabs, and comb jellyfish. From a practical aspect, the spiny dogfish is important because it is probably more destructive to gear and interferes more with fishing operations than any other fish.
To help improve the spiny dogfish's acceptance with consumers, the FDA approved a new marketing name for the fish -- "Cape Shark". Whatever the name, this fish, when handled properly, is delicious. The fillets are bone-free, firm, and white, with a flaky texture and mild flavor.
The spiny dogfish is truly a culinary delight. It has a slightly higher fat content than most sharks, which is concentrated in the belly flaps. The little extra fat helps keep the flesh moist when cooked. You may cook this shark by just about any technique -- grilling, baking, broiling, microwaving, poaching, or stir-frying. The meat may be filleted off the center piece of cartilage (there are no bones), or cut into chunks. Once cooked, the cartilage lifts right out. My all-time favorite recipe for this shark is Orange-Broiled Shark Steaks.
ORANGE-BROILED SHARK STEAKS1 pound fresh/frozen shark steaks1 tablespoon soy sauce1/2 cup orange juice1 tablespoon lemon juice2 tablespoons catsup1/4 teaspoon pepper2 tablespoons salad oil1 tablespoon sesame seed, toastedThaw fish if frozen. Combine orange juice, catsup, salad oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup for basting. Pour rest of mixture over steaks in shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Drain fish; discard marinade. Place steaks in a greased, shallow baking dish and broil, 4 inches from heat, until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Allow 5 minutes for each half-inch of thickness. Baste occasionally with marinade. If steaks are more than an inch thick, turn fish over when half done. Brush with marinade; sprinkle with sesame seed. Serve with rice and stir-fry vegetables.Preparation Time: 20 minutes. Allow 2 hours for marinating. Makes 4 servings.