Improperly labeled as a bottom feeder of the East Coast, Porgy is quickly becoming a cornerstone for sustainable seafood. From fish and chips to poke, the Porgy has begun a transformation from the unwanted catch of the day to an undeniable boon as we look for better ways to harvest a livelihood from our planet.
Once referred to as bycatch, restaurants have already spent decades giving Porgy the wayward eye. Its ease to catch and overly populous presence in the ocean strangely became the Porgy’s best defense against the fishing boats and markets of America.
If it was that common and unremarkable, why would anyone want to eat it?
Because it tastes delicious.
Porgy’s inaccurate reputation as a common bottom feeder was misguided. More and more people are cooking up and grilling this abundant fish, and finding that it has an incredible taste when properly prepared. But its reputation also meant that it has largely been untouched. This has allowed the Porgy to remain in the eastern waters without much disruption, breeding and growing in numbers to the point where – during porgy season – you can catch mountains of them and barely touch the local populations.
Now, as we look for new farming strategies, Porgies give us a chance to pull from their population while schools of other seafood find opportunities to breed and repopulate. Sustainable fishing requires a balanced handling of the ocean’s ecosystem, and the Porgy have found their new part to play as we seek to improve our methods of ocean farming.
So, as we pursue a food industry founded in responsible consumption, many chefs are looking to this creature – once referred to as “trash fish,” – as a rising star of culinary cuisine. With a taste that rings with a slight sweetness and less oily texture than many other forms of seafood, Porgy makes a fantastic substitution for many recipes that often call for the dwindling numbers of white fish at our disposal, and can taste delicious in their own right when made the right way.
- Porgy Poke by Chef Todd Mitgang: Poke isn’t just for ahi tuna anymore. The healthy and refreshing Hawaiian meal makes a perfect host for the Porgy, where it’s sweet texture is elevated by the mixture of cucumbers, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, scallions, and basil that are mixed amongst the sherry vinegar, spicy sesame and tamari soy sauce base.
- Baked Porgy: Porgy also know how to be easy, baking to deliciously crispy finish in just about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. After cleaning and descaling the fish simply add the spice mixture on top of the Porgy before baking (be sure to save extra spice mixture for plating). The mix of onions, ginger, pepper, lemon, garlic, cilantro, and soy make a delightful seasoning that not only fill in the gaps of the Porgy’s flavor profile, but also utilizes its lower oil concentration to achieve crispy skin on the outside that is absolutely worth every crunch.
- Chili-Rubbed Porgy: The Porgy isn’t done with the spices yet. A combination of onions, lime, butter, cilantro, Swiss chard, okra, and quinoa creates a bed for the Porgy that balances the meal. Like the baked variety, this pan-fried Porgy recipe also puts the delicious skin of the fish on display right where it belongs.
- Fried Porgies: Last but certainly not least, Porgies know to the fish and chips concept and run with. Nothing fancy here, as we’re utilizing buttermilk, flour, cornmeal, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper, lemon juice and canola oil to fry up sweet little Porgies. With a low carb count on a fried meal, this is delightful guilt-free treat.
If you’re ready to go out on the water, catch porgies, and see why it is increasingly considered one of the most delicious fish to catch in NYC, contact Marilyn Jean Fishing, today.