Prime Cuts: Rob McDaniel’s Pompano with Pickled Peppers
Nothing brings people together quite like food. And, there’s nothing better than preparing it in the comfort of your own backyard.
In this episode, Prime Cuts host David Bancroft and guest chef Rob McDaniel provide their contemporary spin on a pompano recipe inspired by both men’s love of Gulf Coast fishing. Bancroft—an acclaimed restaurateur and Iron Chef Showdown winner—and McDaniel, a 4-time James Beard semifinalist and “Best Chef South” recipient, are more than culinary heavyweights. They’re also lifelong fishing and hunting buddies!
Follow these prep and cooking steps to re-create McDaniel’s awesome recipe: grilled pompano with pickled peppers, topped with herb bread crumbs!
• To start, clean and fillet your pompano. Then, apply a light coat of peanut oil, salt, and pepper to both sides. Yet, McDaniel cautions against applying too much, as doing so will lead to your fish tasting like burnt oil.
• Heat your grill to 600 degrees. (McDaniel opts for a Big Green—not a traditional gas or charcoal grill—for this dish.)
• Place your fillets skin-side down on the grill and keep in mind, patience is the name of the game here. Allow the fillets to cook until they’re nice and crispy on one side—essentially the whole way through on the skin side—to achieve nice grilled char marks. Once the scales and skin are nice and crispy, flip and allow the flesh side to briefly cook. Then, remove the pompano from the grill and allow it to rest while you prepare the other ingredients for your final plate-up.
• Ready your pre-toasted bread crumbs. McDaniel opts for ones made from ciabatta bread for this recipe.
Pickled Peppers & Plating
• Ready your pre-pickled peppers. McDaniel uses a variety of in-season peppers— aji dulce, Jimmy Nardello and jalapenos. And, he adds a little fresh garlic and red onion for this recipe.
• Prepare your final dish by lining the bottom of your plate with pickled peppers. Then, place a healthy portion of bread crumbs on top of your pompano before placing it atop your pickled peppers.
And, voila, you’ve got one heck of a pompano dish! Beautiful char grill marks on sweet-tasting pompano that’s complemented by the bread-crumb crunch and pickled-pepper salad kick. Makes us want to grab a fork—or rod and reel! How about you?
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