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How to Eat Tarpon

by
author image Kristie Bishopp
A native Midwesterner, Kristie Bishopp has been writing professionally since 1992. She started out as a technical writer and editor for a newsletter firm, then wrote several novels published under various pen names. Bishopp holds bachelor's degrees in magazine journalism and English literature from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
How to Eat Tarpon
A tarpon fish. Photo Credit robertdewit66/iStock/Getty Images

Prized by fishermen for its spirited antics at the end of a fishing line, the adult tarpon can measure 8 feet or longer and weigh 200 to 300 pounds. In the United States, the tarpon usually is caught for sport -- and then released. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. One practical method of preparing a bony fish, however, is to poach it, pick the meat off the bones and use it to make well-seasoned fish cakes.

Poaching and Deboning

Step 1

Fill a large pot with 2 quarts of chicken broth. Set it on a burner on high heat.

Step 2

If your fillets are long, cut them into pieces small enough to fit together in the pot.

Step 3

When the broth begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium-high. As the boiling liquid slows to a simmer, meaning you see movement in the water but no bubbling, put the fillets in the broth to cook.

Step 4

After about 10 minutes, or when the fish is done, take the pot off the stove. Use a large slotted spoon to scoop out the fish and set it on a plate to cool.

Step 5

When the fish is cool enough to handle, manually pick the meat away from the bones. Place the meat in a bowl and discard the bones.

Fish Cakes

Step 1

Grind the fish meat in a food processor but only briefly. You want small chunks, not a smooth paste. Return the ground fish to the bowl.

Step 2

Add a finely chopped onion, a finely chopped green bell pepper, 2 to 3 pounds of mashed potatoes, 4 egg whites, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Mash thoroughly with a fork.

Step 3

Dust the counter with flour and scoop a heaping tablespoon of the fish mixture into your hands. Roll it into a ball and flatten it slightly into a cake on the counter. Repeat with the rest of the fish mixture.

Step 4

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Set a layer of fish cakes in the pan and cook them until the edges are crispy, about 3 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the cooked fish cakes from the skillet and drain them on paper towels.

Step 5

Repeat Step 4 for the rest of the fish cakes, cooking and removing one batch at a time. Cooked fish cakes may be kept warm in the oven until all of the batches are finished cooking.

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