You loved our first post about the best tasting fish in Florida so much that we’re back for round two!
Here are four more delicious examples of fish from the Gulf Coast, along with a few suggestions of how best to enjoy them. Plus, all these fish are super healthy and sustainable, so you’re doing yourself and the planet some good when you dig in.
Said by some to be the best tasting fish from the gulf, pompano is another fish with firm and mild tasting flesh.
It has a decent amount of fat, but unlike bonito and mackerel, pompano is more clean-tasting than oily.
The most famous way to cook this fish is “Pompano en Papillote” which comes from New Orleans and involves wrapping the fish in parchment paper, pouring in a white sauce made of wine, shrimp and crab meat then steaming. But that’s not the only way to prepare it.
You can also let the simple flavor of the fish act as a blank canvas for other more vibrant tastes. Try drizzling it with a blend of fresh lime juice, sugar, grated ginger, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper then grilling or lightly frying. The skin doesn’t need to be removed and turns wonderfully light and crispy after cooking.
Wahoo (also called Ono) means “delicious” in Hawaiian, and we’re certainly not going to argue!
Found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world, this species has mild and sweet tasting flesh with a firm texture and large, round flakes when cooked.
Although it’s available year-round, it’s most commonly caught between May and October in Florida.
Thanks to wahoo’s subtle flavor and firmness, it’s really versatile and can be cooked in loads of different ways. Try marinating it in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic powder then grilling it for a fabulous smoky flavor. Poaching wahoo in fish stock seasoned with herbs and veggies or baking it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice are wonderful alternatives, too.
There are over 80 varieties of mullet across the world, but very few are as drool-worthy as the black mullet in the Gulf Coast.
A long-time staple in the North Florida diet, this fish has quite a strong flavor, making it best suited to people who really enjoy the taste of fresh-from-the-ocean fish.
Mullet is most often filleted, dipped into a flour/cornmeal batter, deep fried and served with lemon wedges. This way is absolutely delicious, but even though the fish has been filleted, you still need to be wary of tiny bones that were missed. Thanks to being quite high in oil, mullet also really lends itself to smoking, resulting in a wonderfully rich and nutty flavor unlike any other fish or seafood.
The Gulf Coast is blessed with three types of mackerel: king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and cero mackerel, the last of which you can only find in the Florida Keys.
Mackerel has a strong flavor, firm flesh and oily quality similar to salmon. This fish, when fresh, tastes so fantastic before it’s cooked that it’s often used in sushi and sashimi dishes.
But if you prefer your fish a little more on the well-done side, there are plenty of other ways to prepare mackerel. Its salty, almost creamy flesh makes this fish perfect for smoking, while the meaty size of the fillets mean it’s great for grilling, too. To help balance out the strong, fishy flavor, it’s best to marinate or serve mackerel with sharp citrus flavors, like lemons and limes. Adding a touch of spicy heat from chili peppers or jalapeños is another excellent way to lighten up the flavor.
Find some terrific fresh fish on the menu at our area restaurants by visiting 30A Dining. You can also book your own fishing charter at 30A Tours.
NICOLA QUINN is a British freelance writer based on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. During the week she knuckles down and gets the job done, but on the weekend she spends her time soaking up the sunshine on the little volcanic island she calls home.