Friday, February 4, 2011

Castañeta (Palometa) Frita de Mi Madre (Mom's Fried Golden Pompano)

At home we eat fish occasionally Golden Pompano is one of my favorite fish, it is meaty, sturdy, moist (has enough fat), and best of all doesn't have a lot of bones, most of the bones are large and in the center body not embedded through-out it's flesh.

It is very similar to white Pomfret and Black Pomfret (which are also one of my favorite fish, when I want fish steaks, medallions, rounds, whole fried fish, or a fish that can hold it's own in stewing)

This is how my mother prepares it she simply puts generous salt, pepper, mashed garlic, and lime. Then flours and pan or deep-fries. The results, a slightly crisp exterior, moist interior, and garlicky, flavorful fried fish.

With my wrist broken and unable to cook much, I decided to take pictures of what my mom was cooking and share the recipe :)

Main Ingredients:
-2 Golden Pompano's (cut into steak rounds)
-6-8 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
-juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon (she used a lemon)
-salt to taste (salt generously all over)
-ground black pepper to taste
-flour as needed to coat fish

Ingredients To fry the fish:
-enough oil to deep-fry fish, or almost completely submerge (2-3 cups?)
-3 whole garlic cloves, skin on, slightly bruised

(1) Tell your fish market guy to cut it into steaks, wash the fish real well, rinsing in cold water several times and pat-dry, make slits on the steaks skin with a knife about 2 inches apart, sprinkle salt and pepper all over, rub garlic, and lemon or lime juice all over.
(2) Allow to marinade atleast 2 hours or over night
(3) After 2 hours or marinading longer, lightly flour all the fish pieces
Directions to fry:
(1) Heat your oil over medium high heat, add your bruised garlic cloves (this will help your house not smell like a bunch of fish) add your floured fish when hot, in batches fry 5-6 minutes without touching
then turn over and allow to continue frying.
(2) Drain and remove from oil, put on paper towels to drain further or o n whatever you'd like
(3) Do the same with the second batch :) When done it should look like this. We ate it with rice and salad :D
(1) Notice the fish is a golden reddish, my mom used an oil she had previously infused with sweet smoked Spanish paprika, you can also just mix the flour with some paprika for the color.

(2) This recipe can work for Tilapia/ Mojarra, Catfish, Redsnapper, or Seabass. any fresh white fleshed whole fish, even fish fillets :)

(3) If you like this recipe you'll like my mother's Salmon, with generous garlic, pan-fried in butter and olive oil see post for "Salmon de mi Mama" or her "Mojarra Frita a la Mexicana" (Tilapia Mexican style)

(4) I have a feeling I have the wrong Spanish name... I think "Castañeta" or Palometa is actually referring to "Pomfret" though Pomfret and Pompano look so similar....