Working on the North Fork of Long Island has many benefits as I find myself fishing, gardening and cooking in one of the most beautiful places in the world. In addition to the acres of vineyards and farmland, there are stretches of scintillating pebble beaches framing some of the most sustainable waters for fishing.
It is off one of these beaches that my friend Tim launched his row boat in quest of porgies on a windy Saturday morning.
As a consumer I can never understand why we don’t see more fish like porgy and bluefish on local menus. But as the chef/owner of Cuvee at The Greenporter Hotel, I know it is because we have not worked hard enough at introducing these delicious and plentiful fish in our North Fork restaurants. This is why we find Porgy listed on city menus by their French name “Daurade” and appreciated for their firm texture, thin crispy skin and delicate flavor. Porgies might be scarce in other parts of the country but on the North Fork of Long Island, you can’t have your line in for more than five minutes without getting a nibble.
Porgies (aka Sea bream) are part of the Sparidae family but their slender skeletal frame that runs along the exterior of the fish in addition to the central spine makes it challenging to filet. But it’s worth it to pay your local fish monger at Southold Fish Market a little extra to take care of it you. Or when looking for a fishing charter, you can book with Orient Point Fishing and they will filet your porgies on board so that you can take them home on ice. and cook them for dinner.
Porgies are best simply pan roasted with salt and pepper, on some bread or between some fresh corn tortillas with homemade cole slaw and a little salsa made from the last of your summer tomatoes and cilantro. Visit us at the Greenport Farmers Market on Saturday, September 15th at 12 noon for a cooking demonstration. Chef Deborah Pittorino will show you how to make a healthy Asian slaw with cabbage, carrots, scallions and a sesame-soy dressing that she will serve with chicken satay.