Range & Habitat: Southern Atlantic U.S. coast; Gulf coast
Identification & Biology: These small, thin marine fish usually weigh no more than 2 lbs. The back is a deep bluish-green which fades to a silver belly. The eyes are small, the body deep, and the tail forked.
Market Description: The white or off-white flesh is fine-textured, meaty, and sweet. The fat content is moderate, which makes for a succulent yet somewhat oily bite. The skin is edible.
Habitat: Mid Atlantic US/Gulf of Mexico
Flavor Profile: Small flake, irm texture, nutty hints
Fishing Technique: hook & line, long line
Special Note: Skin is edible does not require scaling
Suitable Sub: Permit, Snapper
Sold as: Whole (most common), fillets
Buying tips: Whole fish should look alive with bright, unmarred skin and red gills; they should smell of the sea. If the fish has not been scaled, ask your fishmonger to do it.
Recommended Preparation: Pompano is considered by many to be America’s finest pan fish. With its uncomplicated bone structure, pompano is easier to eat than most pan fish. It is excellent broiled, grilled, baked, or pan-fried, and is a favorite fish to prepare en papillote (baked in pouches).
Substitutes: Butterfish, croaker, flatfish
Notes: Pompano is a fish of superior quality, and it is priced accordingly–a small, fresh, uncleaned fish can cost more than six dollars.