Cod or Scrod – What’s the Difference?

July 23, 2010 7 Comments

Cod or Scrod - What's the Difference?

All Cod are Scrod, but Not All Scrod Are Cod.  How Odd.

I was making Eric Jorgensen’s Hearty Fish Chowder using cod the other day, and it brought to mind scrod.  My dad always told me that scrod were young cod.  I did a bit of research to see if he was right.  It turns out that scrod means different things to different people in different parts of the country.

Some definitions of the word scrod do indicate that it means a young cod.  But, it also has a broader definition meaning any young, firm, white-fleshed fish.  In New England, the term scrod indicates the Catch of the Day, specifically fish that have been deboned, or filleted.

The word scrod is said to be derived from the now-obsolete Dutch word schrode, which means “a piece cut off.”  If this is the true origin of the word scrod, it makes sense that it would mean a piece of fish that had been cut, or filleted.

Fish Tales

There are many apocryphal stories circulating about the origin of the word scrod””who knew this would be such a well-debated subject?  One story has it that a chef, ostensibly from the famous Parker House, would go down to the docks to choose the best of the best of that day’s catch.  The secured catch received on dock, or scrod.

Pardon the pun, but that explanation is a bit fishy.  There is no actual documentation to support the story, although it is a fun one.

Another story is that scrod is a kind of shorthand for the freshest fish.  When fishing boats would go out for days at a time, the scrod were the fish that were on the top of the catch, or the ones most recently caught.  Over time, scrod came to designate the white fish of the highest quality.

So, I guess in a narrow sense, dad was right.  Scrod are young cod.  But when you see scrod on a restaurant menu, it refers to any young white-fleshed fish.  Scrod is more of a generic term.

So, the next time you buy filleted cod, you can certainly call it scrod.  But you can also call haddock or pollock scrod.  You might not know exactly what kind of fish was used to make your fish and chips, but you can be sure that it is some kind of scrod.

Last modified on Mon 7 April 2014 9:58 am

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Comments (7)

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  1. Meribast says:

    Heh, no, scrod is what’s left at the bottom of the barrel of fish, its not the freshest catch, LMAO!

    Its amazing what people don’t know or how people rewrite reality to suit them.

  2. Jim says:

    In New England, scrod can mean cod fish, scrod Haddock or scrod pollock, it’s the younger size of the fish

  3. Mike says:

    Boats were out days at a time. The fish on top of the hold were the freshest fish. SCROD is derived from SKIPPERS CATCH ROGHT OFF THE DOCK. SCROD

  4. Coventry says:

    I was always told it stood for small caught right off dock. Whatever story you have it’s usually a very economical but tasty piece of fish. I like mine broiled or baked with buttery ritz crackers!!

  5. David Joseph says:

    Since today you never know what you’re really getting in a fish market scrod meaning more than one variety of fish is inane. It’s either cod, pollack or haddock. Know what you’re buying. Goose fish is now monkfish scammed at the fish store,

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