It’s that time of the year when the water temperatures are cool and we begin to catch my absolute favorite eating local fish….Pompano. They have begun to show up in the shallow sandy flats and are cruising around in the surf looking for their favorite food to be stirred up by breaking waves… Sand Fleas. Most pompano are only two to three pounds in weight. A five pound fish will give you bragging rights! But, pound for pound, these fish will fight harder than almost any fish of the same size.
Pompano are schooling fish, and if you catch one, you can probably catch more. They move through an area, looking for food. They will move with the current and with the tide, foraging along the bottom just behind and right in the break of the surf. In clear water conditions, a school can sometimes be seen right in the wave before it breaks.
The meat tends to have its own buttery/creamy flavor and texture. I like to serve the fish whole (with the head and internal organs removed of course). A typical whole cleaned and dressed pompano is around ¾ lb, so I usually count on onepompano per person. I like this recipe because it is so basic and simple, and fresh.
You will need…
- 1 whole dressed pompano per person
- Olive oil
- CAPTAIN RAPPS NAPLES STEAK QUAKE SEASONING
- Lemon slices
- Aluminum foil
- 1 good looking helper (important!)
At the cleaning station, remove the head and dress the pompano. Wash it thoroughly with cold water, being sure to get up inside the body cavity with a knife so you can score and wash out the dark spinal cord area.
Light your grill on medium-high, or pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
In the kitchen, tear sheets of aluminum foil about double the length of each pompano. Right on the aluminum, take your knife and score the sides of the pompano with diagonal cuts to the bone (about 4 cuts in each direction on each side).
Now get your good looking helper….. bend the pompano slightly so the slits you made open up a little. Have your helper drizzle olive oil & CAPTAIN RAPPS NAPLES STEAK QUAKE SEASONING onto the pompano as you are bending the slits open. Do this on both sides and rub it with your hand so the olive oil & seasoning gets pushed into the slits.
Now put a lemon slice (not wedge) oneach side of the pompano and wrap it up in the aluminum foil.
Grill for about 10 – 12 minutes per side, or bake for about 40 minutes. Fish is done when the meat flakes with a fork. Be careful not to overcook as the fish will dry out easily.
When serving, use your fork and knife to remove the triangles of skin. Then be sure to remove the dark brown meat that runs horizontally with the body. This is the fish’s bloodline and you never want to eat this in any fish!
Now use your CAPTAIN RAPPS NAPLES STEAK QUAKE SEASONING to taste, and eat the meat right to the bones, then flip it over and start on the other side.
Capt Pete Rapps
Hailing out of Chokoloskee Island Park Marina, Chokoloskee, FL, Capt Rapps has been fishing the Chokoloskee area for just over 20 years. He offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the Everglades National Park, and is happy to accommodate anyone from men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Pete is extremely patient and loves to teach. You can book a charter right online 24/7. See his online availability calendar, booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and first class web site at www.CaptainRapps.com