Have you tried hogfish? The local catch tastes sweeter than grouper, is flakier than dolphin, and is as rich as scallops. "It's the perfect fish — not firm or tough. It just melts in your mouth," says Rebecca Franks, owner of Fish Fish Restaurant Bar & Market in North Miami and an Islamorada resident.
Indeed, hogfish would be perfect — if only catching it were easier. On clear days, divers spear Lachnolaimus maximus off coral reefs. But during bad weather, spearing becomes impossible. "When it's blowing 30 to 40 knots, a diver can't go into the water and get a hogfish," says Bobby Mongelli, who has owned Hogfish Bar & Grill on Stock Island for 12 years.
So restaurants get hogfish from another source. During lobster and crab season, it is caught in traps, and fishermen gain some valuable bycatch.
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If you get a hogfish craving in Miami, try it at Fish Fish. There, chef Oscar Quezada scores the flesh, seasons it in flour, and deep-fries it until it's golden and crisp. Topped with scallions, diced tomatoes, and key lime butter sauce, it might just turn hogfish into your favorite local catch.