Porgy Fish Disaster

Hi all. I finally worked up the nerve to roast, fillet, and debone a whole fish after watching a Serious Eats video that made it look so easy.
I bought 2 1 lb porgies from Whole Foods and following the article's recipe, I stuffed them with aromatics and herbs and cooked at 350. The instructions said to cook until the fish registered 135 degrees, mine was 150 by the time I got to it.
I filleted(ish) them and got them on the plate. We took one bite and it was horrendous. The texture was an awful mushiness and tasted very fishy. My husband asked me if I wanted to order pizza.
I've never had porgy before so I'm not sure how it should be but I read it's similar to red snapper, which this definitely was not. Did I screw something up? Was it just not a fresh fish? Anything I can do to save it? TIA!

  • Posted by: GourMel
  • September 9, 2017


GourMel September 12, 2017
Thank you all for the helpful tips! I did get a refund from Whole Foods and hopefully can avoid this from happening again.
lisa D. September 11, 2017
You can test the freshness by the texture of the fish as well as the brightness of the gills. If it is whole with the skin on it should be shiny and firm. Often when fish is not fresh it has an unpleasant odor and or sometimes slimmey and meat is not firm. Always check for freshness. Skin and fillet and the meat is smooth and firm to touch and bright in color. No odors except for the fish itself. To bake, marinate in an olive oil and seasoning. Allow the marinade to sit and then bake at 325 to 350. Bake until white but no more. Say about 20 minutes tops. I like my porgy with lots of butter, tomatoes, scallions and fresh chopped herbs and lemon juice or white wine. Or it can be bake poached in a parchment paper bag to capture moisture and flavor....very easy to do with the same flavor profile. Just wrap the marinated fish in parchment and fold over the bag to seal. It really captures all the flavor.

Voted the Best Reply!

creamtea September 9, 2017
Although the mushiness points to overcooking, the fact that it was fishy- tasting suggests that it was not fresh. I'd go back to Whole Foods and tell them that it didn't taste fresh. It helps if you kept the receipt; but even when I haven't had a receipt, they have given me my money back or a credit for sub-par products.
GourMel September 10, 2017
Thanks so much for your input! I also figured the foul taste meant it wasn't fresh but it looked good though, clear eyes, shiny skin, etc. Sigh.
HalfPint September 11, 2017
Totally agree. Sounds like you got something less than fresh. Porgy is supposed to mild and sweet, similar to red snapper. Hope you got a refund :)
HalfPint September 11, 2017
Forgot to add this tip from my mom: to check for freshness in whole fish, look at the gills. If it's a bright almost orange red, it's fresh. If it's a dark red, it's not fresh anymore.

What else to do with it? Fish cakes with lots of onions (like scallions) and fresh herbs, maybe a little lemon zest.
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