How to Clean, Fillet & Cook a Porgy

How to Clean, Fillet & Cook a Porgy

Porgy (sea bream in Europe) is a common name for various species of fish, including the scup and the sheepshead porgy. These fish and their fillets are highly valued for their taste, firm texture, and versatility in cooking.

Porgy is a small fish that grows to the size of our palm when we spread our fingers. It is one of the most delicious fish that can be baked, broiled, grilled, or even poached. You can make a variety of dishes with this sweet fish.

What Are Some Different Types of Porgy Fish?

Here are a few notable types of porgy fish:

  1. Scup: scup is a popular species found along the Atlantic coast of North America. Scup is highly regarded for its delicate flavor and is often caught for both recreational and commercial purposes.
  2. Sheepshead Porgy: Also called sheepshead, this species is found in the western Atlantic Ocean, particularly along the eastern coast of the United States. It is valued for its firm flesh and sweet, mild flavor.
  3. Jolthead Porgy: Found in the western Atlantic Ocean, jolthead porgy is known for its distinctive large, protruding forehead. It’s often sought after by anglers for its fighting strength and good taste.
  4. Red Porgy: Red porgy is found in the western Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. Red porgy has a firm texture and mild flavor, making it a treat for culinary purposes.
  5. Whitebone Porgy: Also known as whitebone jolthead porgy, it swims in the western Atlantic Ocean. Whitebone porgy is also known for its excellent taste.
Sheepshead porgy
Sheepshead porgy

Are Porgy Fish Good to Eat?

Yes, porgy fish are considered good to eat. They are valued for their taste, texture, and versatility in cooking. 

Porgy fish are widely available in coastal areas. They can be caught recreationally or purchased from seafood markets, making them accessible to seafood lovers.

What Does Porgy Fish Taste Like?

Porgy fish are known for having a mild, sweet flavor that is often compared to other popular white fish species like red snapper or sea bass

They have firm flesh that holds up well during cooking. The texture is very palatable, making it suitable for various cooking methods such as grilling, baking, broiling, frying, or steaming. It maintains its integrity and doesn’t become mushy.

How to Clean & Fillet a Porgy 

Cleaning and filleting a porgy fish is a straightforward process. Here are my tips on how to do it. Make sure to also check the video below on the best way to fillet a porgy.

  • You will need a sharp fillet knife, a cutting board, and a clean workspace.
  • Scale the fish. Start from the tail and scrape the scales towards the head, working on both sides of the fish.
  • Place the fish on the cutting board with its belly facing up. Using the fillet knife, make a shallow incision just behind the gills and run the knife along the belly towards the tail.
  • Remove the entrails.
  • Remove the head (optional).
  • To fillet the fish, lay the cleaned porgy on the cutting board with its back facing up. Starting at the head, make a long, shallow cut along the backbone towards the tail. Use smooth, sweeping motions to separate the flesh from the bones.
  • Trim away any excess fat or fins from the fillets. You can also remove the skin.
How to fillet a porgy

How Do You Cook Porgy Fish?

Porgy fish can be cooked using various methods:

Grilled: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Season the fish, place it directly on the grill, and cook for about 4-6 minutes per side.

Baked: Preheat the oven to around 375°F (190°C). Season the fish and place it in a baking dish or on a lined baking sheet (skin side up). Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes.

Pan-Fried: Fried porgy is an excellent option for cooking smaller porgy fillets. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil (such as vegetable or olive oil) in a skillet over medium heat. Season and place the fillets in the hot skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Ceviche: Porgy fish can also be eaten raw in ceviche. Dice the fish into small pieces and place in a shallow bowl. Add lime or lemon juice, along with chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and any additional seasonings. Allow the fish to marinate in the citrus juice for about 15-30 minutes.

Porgy ready for grilling
Porgy ready for grilling

Porgy Fillet Recipe

This is one of the simplest yet delicious porgy fish recipes.


  • 4 porgy fish fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic powder)
  • Shallots, cut into dice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs (such as parsley, oregano or dill) for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Rinse the porgy fillets under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place the fillets in a baking dish and add some olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle minced garlic and cut shallots evenly over the fillets. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Gently rub the oil, lemon juice, and seasonings into the fillets, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  5. Bake the fillets for a total time of 12-15 minutes or until they are cooked through and easily flake with a fork.
  6. Once cooked, remove the fillets from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish the fillets with fresh herbs.
  8. Serve the porgy fillets hot with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the fish.
Baked red porgy and seabass on a bed of patatoes and vegetables
Baked red porgy and sea bass on a bed of patatoes and vegetables

What Is a Good Side Dish to Serve with Porgy Fish?

Several tasty side dishes pair well with porgy fish. Serve your porgy fish with a side of steamed vegetables with green beans, broccoli, asparagus and carrots. Lightly season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Roasted potatoes also work well. Toss diced potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme or rosemary. Roast them in the oven until golden brown and crispy.

If you want a healthy option, create a fresh and vibrant side salad with mixed greens, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and toppings such as crumbled feta cheese or breadcrumbs. Dress it with a light vinaigrette or lemon-herb dressing.

4 Good Sauces for Porgy Fish

  1. Lemon Butter Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan, add fresh lemon juice, and season with salt, pepper, and a touch of minced garlic or herbs like parsley.
  2. Herb Sauce: Blend together fresh herbs like parsley, dill, basil, or cilantro with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. This sauce adds a burst of freshness and complements the mild taste of porgy fish.
  3. Tomato Salsa: Combine diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Allow the flavors to meld together for a while before serving.
  4. Mango Salsa: Combine diced mangoes, red bell peppers, red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

What Is the Nutritional Value of Porgy Fish?

Porgy is generally considered a great addition to anyone’s diet. Here is a general overview of the nutritional value of porgy fish per 100 grams of cooked fillet:

  • Calories: 105
  • Protein: Around 21 grams
  • Fat: About 2 grams
  • Saturated Fat: Less than 1 gram

Porgy fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B12, niacin (vitamin B3), as well as phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.

Read next: Best Fishing Rod and Reel for Porgy

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