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Dec 7, 2013 05:42 PM

Champagne and pompano, they really go together

I'm watching Key Largo from 1948, and Edward G. Robinson just spoke that line. Isn't it equally true 65 years later? What a great delicacy pompano is, sautéed simply with wine, capers, and lemon juice.

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  1. Champagne goes with everything...really. Here is the quote I have framed over our house bar.

    I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty.

    Lily Bollinger

    1. Pompano is my favorite fish, and fish is my favorite protein. Alas, no pompano here in New England.

      14 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        I'm from New England originally. My first pompano was 'en papillote' in New Orleans, long before I ever knew I would later live in Florida. Pompano is fairly scarce even in good fish markets here, so I'm not surprised that few leave the gulf states. For anyone not familiar with it, I recommend keeping an open eye for it at fish markets and restaurants or when traveling in the area.

        1. re: Veggo

          I prepare pompano en papillote often. Tile fish and yellow tail also work beautifully with this method. Is one of the simplest methods for a delicate fish and doesn't require any fat.

          Pompano is not much of a commercial fish.

          1. re: LilMsFoodie

            Nor are hogfish, fortunately. My other favorite.

            1. re: Veggo

              we were moved to a new board. Apparently not appropriate for the Florida board.

              Hog fish is another very mild fish.

              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                The mods courteously let me know they were moving the thread from the Florida board to General topics.

                1. re: Veggo

                  courteous or not, that will end the discussion.

                2. re: LilMsFoodie

                  I wonder if you could cure hog fish and make some sort of marine ham.

                  1. re: Tripeler

                    And Kosher?

                    In Mexico they are called boquinette. Not a mellifluous name, but preferable to hog fish.
                    They have 2 upper protruding teeth for reef foraging that take some getting used to! They are usually served whole, scored, and fried. Not as abundant now as when I first lived in Mexico 17 years ago. All but impossible to find in Florida fish markets, and rarely in restaurants.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      All the more reason for a jaunt to the Bahamas. Love Spanish Hog Fish.

                      They have this charming tactic of hiding behind a sea fan while keeping an eye on me. And of course the fan doesn't even slow my spear down.

                      Biggest trouble is holding the fish out of the water to get to my boat so the Caribbean Reef Sharks do not get it first.

                      There are schools of pompano in the Out Islands as they are not targeted by the commercial fishing boats. Unlike the vanishing conch, grouper, and lobster.

                      Does Freixnet count as the bubbly? Much more accessible at Bristol's in Marsh Harbor. And Georgetown.

                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        Amusing! I used to spear a lot of fish in the Yucatan. I called it the biggest fish market, with no check out lines. It is absolutely uncanny how fish recognize a spear gun. And fish have such a small kill zone there is often a lot of vibration, which is heard by the big toothy guys at great distances. Fortunately, bull sharks are pretty much nocturnal feeders, and I have never had a bad experience with nurse sharks which are the most common there. I have rolled them over and stroked their bellies like contented cats.
                        Conch, grouper, and spiny lobsters are still in decent quantities in the Yucatan, Belize, the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.

                3. re: Veggo

                  We always eat as much as we can on Anna Maria Island, more often from the fish market than out.

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    That's smart, especially with the obscene prices of stone crabs this year and last (which also go well with champagne!)

              2. re: Veggo

                Pomppano are showing up in the surf, water temps are in the high 60s. Caught 2 nice "Nuggets of Gold" grilled them whole with a little fresh olive oil, EXCELLENT!!

                A.P. has them too, from day boats.

                1. re: ospreycove

                  I usually get whole pompano when it's available from A. P. Bell or Star Fish. At Star I pay by the gross weight and then they are happy to filet them, Bell is whole fish. Thanks for the update Osprey, I'll get there this week.

            2. I LOVE this fish; the first time I had it was a few years ago. My son bought it at a fish market on the outer banks, which I was surprised he was able to get it...not common around here. I wrapped it in banana leaves and roasted it. So, so good.