Scup, or porgy is a small, saltwater “panfish”. It’s not necessarily sought after like the famous striped bass here in the northeast, and most people I know don’t particularly go fishing for scup as their primary focus. Having spent so much time dedicating my life to cooking years ago, restaurant menus often contain the recognizable fish such as swordfish, tuna, halibut, etc. Yet, you’d be hard pressed to find scup on a menu unless you go to a restaurant worth going to, in my humble opinion. I tend to gravitate toward more of a rustic style of cooking, as I am more interested in the history of cultural cuisine and it doesn’t get much more rustic than whole roasted fish! Preparation is generally easy and relatively quick.
A good friend of mine called me up a few weekends ago and asked if I wanted four scup that were caught that day…absolutely! Preparation consisted of drawing and removing the guts and gills, scaling, and clipping the fins. After a quick rinse and dry, I seasoned the cavity and outside of the fish with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and a few thin slices of fresh garlic. I picked some fresh herbs from the garden; oregano, basil, thyme, parsley and cilantro. I have to say I’m not normally a big fan of cilantro, but two of which I put only cilantro and parsley in, were my favorite. Not that the others weren’t delicious (which were stuffed with fresh oregano, basil and thyme) but the ones with cilantro were particularly good!
Once seasoned, I laid them flat on a sheet pan and roasted them at 425 degrees. When the skin starts to turn golden-brown and a fork won’t meet resistance when inserted into the filet, the fish is done. This will take roughly 20 minutes.