Pangat na Pampano at Talakitok (Pompano and Trevally in Lime Juice and Spices)

?Pangat?, sometimes referred to as ?pinangat?, is a Filipino dish made of fish poached in calamondin (?calamansi?) or lemon or in this case, lime juice with ginger and some spices. The dish is common in the Northern and Central part of the Luzon Island in the Philippines. Usually, small fish are used in the dish like pony fish, shad, blue runners, juvenile trevally and pompano to name some.

Pompano refers to any of several marine fishes of the family Carangidae and of the genus ?Trachinotus?, of tropical and temperate Pacific and Atlantic waters, having a silvery oblong body with a bluish back. Pompanos are deep-bodied, toothless fishes with small scales, a narrow tail base, and a forked tail. They are usually found along shores in warm waters throughout the world. The Florida, or common, pompano (T. carolinus), considered the tastiest, is a valued commercial food fish and grows to a length of about 45 cm (18 inches) and weight of 1 kg (2 pounds).

Trevally (?talakitok?) also belongs to the ?Carangidae? family. They are blue-green dorsally and silvery white on the belly, with a yellowish sheen running along the length of the fish. A small dark blotch often appears on the upper gill cover. Trevally is a priced gamefish and pursuit by many Anglers, like me, all over the world. They are most abundant at depths of about 80 meters and are caught throughout the year. The fighting that will ensue after hooking the fist is one of the toughest and most adrenaline-pumping moments an Angler could experience.

Trevally have medium to soft fillets with low oil content. The flesh is marbled pink with a darker fat line that can be filleted out. They are excellent smoked. For peak eating quality, Trevally should be bled immediately after capture.

For this ?pangat? dish, the pompano and trevally I recently bought from the seaside road vendor and featured in my last post Mixed Bag of Fresh Fish, I believe, are perfect. The fish must be scaled, gutted, washed, drained and seasoned with salt. The few other ingredients needed composed of just: 5 pcs lime (calamondin and lemon are excellent too), juice to be extracted and strained, 2 pcs small sized ginger, peeled and mashed, 2 pcs mild chilies, 1 tsp salt or to taste and about ¼ cup water.

?Pangat? is among the quick and easy Filipino fish dishes. It can be cooked in less than 30 minutes including preparation. To cook, place the ginger at the bottom of a thick casserole. Arrange the fish on top of the ginger and pour the lime juice and water. Let the liquid boil under medium heat. Once boiling, uncover for a minute and set the heat to low. Cover and continue poaching until the meat is just cook. Taste and adjust the salt level. Place the chilies on top of the fish and continue simmering until they are cooked through.

Turn off the heat and serve in a medium plate along with the chilies. Discard the ginger and pour the rich and slightly thick liquid that remains on the fish.

This dish should be eaten with steamed rice. Lots of it. Enjoy. c?,)

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