The Fish We Cook, Porgy and Pompano


It can be called butterfish, cobbler fish, permit or palmetto. No matter what name you give it, the Florida pompano is considered one of the best tasting fish in the ocean. It is a very popular fish in the Florida area both commercially and for sports fishing. Found in the warm waters of the south Atlantic from Cape Cod to Brazil, the it should not be confused with the California pompano which is actually a member of the butterfish family and not a pompano at all. It is a fast growing fish, reaching 8-12 inches in its first year and has a life expectancy of 3 to 4 years. Because of its fast growth and great taste, farming the pompano is becoming very popular. The average harvest size for farmed pompano is 1 to 1.5 pounds. It has a silvery body, metallic blue above and golden-yellow below with a deeply forked tail and wid caught average 1 ½ to 3 pounds. The pompano has been known to reach 9 pounds and 26 inches in length. It is a fairly expensive fish because of high demand and commercial fishing restrictions. The pompano has a flesh that is very flakey, very firm, and fairly high in fat and has a delicious rich flavor. It remains moist with a pearly white color after cooking. The best way to cook pompano is to bake, broil, sauté, pan fry or oven fry.


A small fish known as the saltwater pan fish, the porgy or scup which it is commonly called is very popular with sport and commercial fishermen along the Atlantic coast from Maine to South Carolina. The name “porgy” comes from an American Indian word for “fertilizer”, a common use for the fish because of its abundance in early America. It has a silver blue back with dull silver sides and 12 to 15 faint vertical stripes. The porgy averages 1 to 2 pounds and 12 to 14 inches in length but can grow to 3 or 4 pounds. They can live up to 20 years. Some of the regional names it can be found under are, scup, maidens, fair maidens, convict, paugy, prison fish, sargo and sea bream. The porgies tender, flakey meat is mild in flavor and moderate in fat content. They have many bones and are difficult to fillet, therefore they are commonly sold whole. The best way to cook porgy is to bake, deep fry, pan fry, sauté or steam.

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