It’s not uncommon to hear people ask if African pompano are good to eat. Well, the answer is a definite yes! If you’re looking to add more fish to your diet, especially if you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, African pompano might be a good option for you.
These fish are available year-round and are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, making them safer than many other types of seafood that are often overfished or otherwise threatened.
Let’s take a look at what else makes African pompano an environmentally friendly seafood choice, including how they grow and their nutrition profile, as well as some tips on how to prepare them in the kitchen.
The Atlantic pompano is referred to be “the world’s most appetizing fish” by foodies. The pan-sized, flat-bodied pompano is simple to prepare and eat whole. It’s caught all the way from Virginia to Texas, although the majority of it is caught off the west coast of Florida.
Due to a lack of commercial landings, prices in most markets remain high. This makes the pompano an enticing target for replacement — and an easy one, as there are numerous distinct species of pompano in the Carangidae family.
What is the African Pompano Fish?
The African pompano, scientifically known as Alectis ciliaris, is a fish of the western Indian Ocean and the eastern Pacific Ocean. It feeds primarily on crustaceans and small fish.
This species can be found in both marine and brackish waters, typically at depths of up to 50m (160 ft). The average length of an adult is about 25cm (9.8 in). This species is important commercially as a food fish, and can also be found in the aquarium industry.
What Does a Pompano Fish Look Like?
The African pompano fish is a member of a family of fish called Jacks, and although it looks somewhat similar to a tuna, it’s actually more closely related to reef fish.
Since the African pompano is easy to identify by its distinctive coloration, it serves as an excellent model organism for taxonomic studies as well as research into the early development stages of vertebrates.
The pompano is often served as an exotic addition to sushi dishes, and many restaurant owners use it as a unique alternative to some of their more typical fishes.
Are African pompano good to eat raw? While it may be tempting (and delicious) for sushi lovers, though, you should know that there are several questions about whether or not you can eat pompano raw. The answer is sort of, but only if it’s been frozen first.
African Pompano Recipe
Are African pompano good to eat and if so, how do you cook them? To cook pompano, heat a skillet in medium heat.
Season it and add a small amount of oil to coat. Place your fish into a hot pan and press lightly. Cook for three minutes, or until you see it becoming browned. Then flip it over gently with a spatula so that it’s ready for its second side.
Be sure not to let your fish touch too much or for too long or else it will stick. After flipping, cook for two minutes on the second side before placing it on the serving dish.
Continue cooking if necessary, but no longer than six minutes total cooking time as overcooked fish becomes dry and rubbery in texture. Your finished product should have a firm texture (but not hard) and flake easily when ready
What They Taste Like
The flesh of an African pompano is mild and slightly sweet. Its mild taste has been described as similar to flounder, red snapper, and butterfish. Though you might find them served fried in a lot of seafood restaurants, pompano are also delicious baked or sautéed and served with a light sauce (such as cream).
While white pompano can be prepared similarly, it’s usually best not to cook it for long periods – the fish will become dry. African pompano that live in colder waters tend to have firmer flesh than those found closer to shore. In general, African pompano are great for frying, baking, and grilling.
If you don’t enjoy eating your fish whole, ask your fishmonger if he’ll fillet it for you before cooking; many markets sell only whole African pompano because they’re difficult to fillet without destroying their delicate meat.
How to Catch Pompano
African pompano live in the same waters as amberjack. The African Pompano, unlike its smaller inshore counterparts, can grow to over 30 pounds in size and put up a great fight on even heavy tackle. Round, silvery fish, African Pompano are drawn to bright colors and fast movement. If you’re fishing for jacks or snapper, you’re likely to run across them when casting a jig.
Pompano are quite adaptable in the depths where they dwell. When wreck fishing, some anglers have caught them as deep as 250 feet and as shallow as 30 feet below the surface of the reef. Temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for these fish, which enjoy coastal waters.
Tropical seas off the US east and west coasts, Africa, Asia, and Australia are all good places to catch them. It isn’t unusual to catch many adult and juvenile African pompano if baits are trolled in the same area since they are schooling fish. It’s best to use live pilchards and cigar minnows on one-ounce jig heads or even an inline sinker when fishing in shallow wrecks and reefs.
While there are many techniques used in catching these fish during the pompano fish season, fishing around sandbars and using a cast net is one of the easiest. It’s best to wait until early morning or just before sunset before you begin your day of pompano fishing.
To help with proper timing, check current tide charts prior to going out so you know what times will work best for that day’s tides. After anchoring near a sandbar, toss your cast net into deeper water and wait for it to sink.
Once your cast net has sunk, pull up as much line as possible before letting go; you want it deep enough that your fish will feel comfortable swimming through it but shallow enough that they can easily swim in on their own accord.
Are African pompano good to eat? Yes, they are a delicious fare for your dinner table. Despite the difficulty of preparing them, their meat is white, thick, and very flavorful. Try them and you might just get hooked to African pompano.