In my opinion, pompano is the most distinctive and succulent of all Southern fish. While I’ve caught them myself in the surf as far north as the Outer Banks of North Carolina, by far the finest, fattest specimens are landed off the Florida and Gulf coasts. Perhaps the most famous pompano dish is richly sauced pompano en papillote (baked in parchment), created many decades ago at Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans. But since the white, slightly oily fish is so sturdy, it also lends itself perfectly to being stuffed and baked in the manner relished by all Southerners. Since the heads and tails are left on the fish in this recipe, the dish makes a very dramatic presentation worthy of the most stylish dinner party.
In a heavy skillet, melt
Season the pompanos inside and out with salt and pepper, spoon equal amounts of stuffing into the cavities, and secure the edges with small skewers or heavy toothpicks. Arrange the pompanos in a large buttered baking pan, dot the tops with the remaining
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