Whole Pan Roasted Porgy: A Fish That Says 1,000 Words

A whole roasted white sea bass and other local catch of the day entrees are offered on the menu at Fresh restautant in Bridgehampton.

This whole pan roasted porgy from Fresh restaurant in Bridgehampton made it onto our Low Summer cover. See below.

You can only pack so much information into a photo credit. And one of our images we owe our readers more information on is the crisp, springtime fish that ended up on our cover earlier this summer.

The image was shot by Doug Young, a regular contributor to Edible East End and photo editor at our just-launched sister mag Edible Long Island. Young was chronicling the new restaurant Fresh Hamptons, when the chef Todd Jacobs, whipping up a feast for a friends and family meal, emerged from the kitchen with a single fish, posed on a roasting pan that was roughly the right dimensions for our cover shot: vertical orientation, strong center of focus, uncluttered space at top and bottom for our cover text. But Young still had to get the lighting just right to show not just the fish, but in this case, the fish has a story, but so does the chef who cooked it. “Doug did some really amazing work on capturing the texture of the fish,” says Jacobs. “It was roasted on our combo oven in a cast iron skillet that was preheated on the flat top. The porgy came from “The Joker,” Joe Mistina’s charter boat out of Montauk. It was a large-line caught fish that was photographed minutes after being delivered and just a few hours after being caught.”

EEE40-Cover-HiRes-NoBarcodePorgies are an undervalued local fish, in our opinion. In fact, we named it one of our special ingredients for Eat Drink Local week last year because  its small size makes it perfect for communal eating, cooked whole (we also like it as sushi); and because porgy stocks have rebounded in recent years, prompting the state to raise the catch limits for both commercial and recreational anglers. Not to mention, they are awfully fun to catch, and show up at seafood shops from spring through fall. Pound for pound many anglers argue they put as good a fight as any fish. While most porgies are 1 to 2 pounds, some swell to 3 pounds and more, which I’ve heard fishermen dub, “huggers,” since one has to securely hug them to the chest to take out the hook.

Jacobs has been known for his ingredients sourcing for a long time. He was a founding member of the local convivium of Slow Food more than a decade ago. And many of the early Slow Food feasts happened at Tierra Mar, the Westhampton restaurant Jacobs captained. He was an early supporter of the Sag Harbor farmers market, and his ties with Long Island chefs grew as his career progressed. Hamptons Fresh, which has become a new favorite for business lunches by day and date nights at the bar in the evening, is a welcome homecoming for Jacobs. To sweeten the deal, Jacobs is offering Edible readers who order a whole porgy  two free side dishes or half price on the five-side combo.

This isn’t quite 1,000 words, but there’s plenty more story here. Find this image and others on Instagram @edibleeastend, where we posted this photo and other eye candy from the magazine.

Executive chef and owner Todd Jacobs holds the catch of the day at Fresh restautant in Bridgehampton.

Executive chef and owner Todd Jacobs holds the catch of the day at Hamptons Fresh restautant in Bridgehampton.