White wine, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon, and Italian seasoning make the best stuffing for this Florida pompano fish! In under 20 minutes, you’ll have the most tender, flaky and delicious fish dinner!Jump to Recipe
Pensacola’s beloved Joe Patti’s Seafood
One of Pensacola’s best kept secrets is our local hub for everything seafood! Taking a walk through Joe Patti’s will tempt you in every way! They have fresh sushi grade salmon for an ultra low price, fresh Gulf shrimp, live Maine lobsters, and everything in between.
My favorite time of year is when the Florida pompano are running. It’s a sure sign of springtime and these small fish (related to the jack family) are so delicious! Their flavor is mild, so you can really enjoy all types of flavors with it!
Pompano are known to be found in warmer water, which is why they are so common in the Gulf of Mexico. While pompano is great for sport fishing in Florida, they can be found between Massachusetts all the way to Brazil!
I’m also happy to report that this dish was ready in 30 minutes! This is definitely a good thing because your mouth will be watering the whole time! It really amazed me these whole pompanos can be cooked is 18 minutes!
- Pompano fish– Most pompano fish average at around 3 lbs. Ask your grocery store for a whole pompano fish, but gutted.
- Breadcrumbs– Panko bread crumbs work great for this recipe because they have a mild flavor and let the white wine and parmesan cheese do the talkin’!
- Parmesan cheese– What recipe of mine does not contain parm cheese?
- Butter– Salted butter has the right amount of salt and richness for this whole pompano recipe.
- Garlic– A couple of cloves of garlic really brings out the flavors in the white wine and lemon juice!
- Dry white wine– My favorite dry white wine is Sauvignon Blanc, but other common ones are Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc.
- Lemon juice– Just a squeeze of fresh lemon will give this dish the perfect zing.
- Italian seasoning– Italian seasoning is composed of a variety of rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley, and marjoram.
- Red pepper flakes– A small pinch of red pepper flakes will add flavor, but no heat.
- Olive oil & salt– To keep the pompano skin from crisping and drying out, rub it with olive oil and then lightly salt it. Make sure to rub inside the cavity, too!
- Buy a whole pompano. Pompanos are small fish that will not yield large fillets. Save yourself time (and sanity) and keep the pompano whole. If you are buying from a store, simply ask them to gut the fish, but leave it whole.
- The bones serve a purpose. Keeping the bones and skin on the fish help retain moisture while cooking. Cooking a whole fish is much more forgiving than cooking fillets, in case you accidentally overcook it!
- Let the white wine reduce. The breadcrumb mixture is super flavorful and it’s all thanks to letting the white wine mixture reduce! While the white wine mixture is reducing, preheat the oven and prepare the fish.
- Don’t overcook the fish! While you may be tempted to cook the whole pompano as long as a chicken breast, this fish takes between 18-20 minutes to cook. Your fork will easily pierce the skin and the fish will be tender, moist, and flaky.
How to prepare pompano fish
First, let’s talk about cuts of fish.
Pompano fish are boney and small. The average size of a pompano fish is about 3 lbs, so fillets are very thin. To really get the most meat off of a pompano, opt for the whole fish.
Ask your seafood department at your grocery store for a gutted whole pompano. This way, all the meat is intact, but the insides have been cleaned out.
Once you are ready to cook the fish, rinse it under cold water, making sure to clean the cavity as well. Pat dry the fish with a paper towel, then place it on a baking sheet. Rub it with olive oil, making sure to get inside the cavity. Sprinkle a little salt, then proceed with the recipe!
How to bake whole pompanos
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Prepare the pompano fish by rubbing the outside and inside the cavity with olive oil and salt.
- Make the stuffing. Place a small pot over medium heat and melt some butter. Add some finely chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and seasoning. Increase heat to medium and allow the mixture to reduce by half, about ten minutes. Once the wine mixture has reduced, mix in the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Stuff the pompano. Using a large spoon, stuff the pompano with the white wine stuffing until the fish is full. Place the fish on its side on the baking sheet.
- Bake the pompano. Allow the pompano to bake for 18-20 minutes. The fish will be tender, moist, and flaky. If you are unsure if it is ready, the internal temperature should read 145 degrees.
Is pompano fish healthy to eat
Pompano is low in mercury
Good news, folks! Pompano is a healthy fish to eat! Pompano is low in mercury and packed with protein. It is high in B-12, B-1, selenium, amino acids, and protein. These are essential nutrients for brain health, strong bones, lowering bad cholesterol, and boosting metabolism!
What to make with pompano fish
- Oven roasted asparagus is such an easy side dish that is healthy, delicious, and fast cooking.
- Quinoa, chickpeas, juicy cherry tomatoes, and summer squash is topped with olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and fresh herbs. This 20 minute vegan Quinoa Salad is light, flavorful, and fresh!
- These White Wine and Lemon Roasted Artichoke Halves are packed with flavor and nutrition. With complimenting hints of white wine and lemon, with lemon zest, the artichokes are juicy and delicious!
- Sweet potato and green beans are tossed in a full-bodied olive oil with raw garlic and fresh thyme, then roasted to perfection! These roasted vegetables are healthy and delicious.
- One pan Italian orzo with vegetables is an easy 20 minute dish that is packed with fresh flavor and nutrients!
More Backyard Bohemian Classics
- Frijol Con Puerco (Mexican Pork and Beans)
- Deep Fried Neapolitan Pizza
- Banana Foster French Toast
- Pesce al Sale (Salt-Crusted Fish)
- 5 Minute Caprese Stuffed Avocados
Italian Stuffed Whole Pompano
White wine, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon, and Italian seasoning make the best stuffing for this Florida pompano fish! In under 20 minutes, you'll have the most tender, flaky and delicious fish dinner!
- 2 whole pompanos gutted
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Italian seasonins
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Rinse the pompano fish under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the fish with olive oil on the outside and inside the cavity, then sprinkle with salt.
Make the stuffing. Melt butter over medium low heat in a small pot. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for two minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium and allow the wine mixture to reduce by half, about ten minutes. One the mixture has reduced, add in the panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
Stuff and bake the pompano. Using a large spoon, stuff the pompano until the fish is full. Lay the fish on its side on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook the pompano for 18-20 minutes, or until the fish has an internal tempurtature of 145 degrees and it flaky and fork tender.
Serve. Remove the fish from the oven and serve the whole fish over a bed of quinoa, rice, or simple as is! Mangia!