Porgy (Sea Bream)

What is it: Sometimes called “Sheepshead without the jail time,” Porgy (also known as Sea Bream) is one of Alabama’s most underappreciated fish. Because this silvery red fish only measures in at a few pounds, it’s been labeled as nothing more than “by-catch” by some folks around the Gulf. But if you’ve ever tried fresh Porgy, you know why seafood fans from England to Japan are crazy about this fish.

When to Get it: Porgy is a reef dwelling fish sharing the domiciles in many areas with other fish such as red snapper. They are available all year around but usually are more abundant in the spring and summer months.

Where Does it Come From: You’ll catch plenty of Porgy in the deeper waters of the Gulf, but Porgy can also be found in shallow waters under 100 feet. This fine fish occurs over hard sand, rock and patch reef areas.

How it’s Prepared: Chef Rob McDaniel chose pan-seared Porgy as his dish for the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2013. But if you’re trying to cook a Porgy or two in your own kitchen, try it baked. Try stuffing the filets with capers, olives and herbs, wrapping it in parchment or aluminum foil, and baking them for half an hour.

Species: Red Porgy, Whitebone Porgy