(See also: Amberjack Recipes and Ciguatera Poisoning)
Amberjacks, members of the jack family (Carangidae), is the common name for fish of the genus Seriola. One of the largest (up to 6 feet) the greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili), is found in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean the eastern seaboard of both North and South America, and in some parts of the Indo-Pacific. Amberjack are found throughout Florida around natural or man-made reefs, rock outcrops and wrecks.
Another species, Seriola lalandi, is known as Yellowtail Kingfish in Australia and as California Yellowtail in California. This species is also found in Argentina and South Africa, etc. There seems to be some disagreement on the exact number of jack species.
It is a colorful fish with lavender and golden tints and an amber band from the eye to the tail. The back is blue or olive green and the side and belly are silvery-white. Occasionally amberjacks have an amber, even pinkish, cast to the body. They are voracious predators that forage over reefs and wrecks in small groups and can weigh more than 150 pounds, but the smaller amberjacks, weighing 15 pounds or less, are considered the best to eat. They are caught by commercial fishermen using longlines.
Firm texture, white meat with mild flavor. Extra lean fish.
Mahi-Mahi, Mullet, Tilefish, Grouper, Shark.
HOW MUCH TO BUY
• Whole or drawn fish: 3/4 to 1 pound per serving.
• Dressed or cleaned fish: 1/2 pound per serving.
• Fillets or steaks: 1/4 to 1/3 pound per serving.
BUYING, STORAGE AND HANDLING
Remember to purchase seafood last and keep it cold during the trip home.
Fresh whole fish should have:
-- A shiny surface with tightly adhering scales.
-- Gills that are deep red or pink, free of slime, mucus and off-odor.
-- Clean shiny belly cavity with no cuts or protruding bones.
-- A mild aroma, similar to the ocean.
Fresh steaks, fillets and loins should have:
-- A translucent look.
-- Flesh that is firm and not separating.
-- A mild odor, similar to the ocean.
-- No discoloration.
-- Packaging that keeps them from being bent in an unnatural position.
• Keep raw and cooked seafood separate to prevent bacterial cross-contamination.
• After handling raw seafood thoroughly wash knives, cutting surfaces, sponges and your hands with hot soapy water.
• Always marinate seafood in the refrigerator.
• Discard marinade; it contains raw juices which may harbor bacteria.
• When marinade is needed for basting reserve a portion before adding raw seafood.
• The general rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, at the thickest part of the fillet or steak, at 400-450 degrees F.
• If fish is cooked in parchment, foil or a sauce, add 5 minutes to the total cooking time.
• Fillets less than 1/2 inch thick do not need to be turned during cooking.
• Fish cooks quickly. Do not overcook.
• Fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
• Poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, sautéing, microwaving are excellent low-fat cooking methods, if you do not add high-fat ingredients.
• Marinate in your favorite salad dressing prior to cooking.
• Broil, bake, steam or microwave, then cube and add to pasta or salad greens for a delicious salad.
• Broil or grill with lime-butter and seasoned salt.
• Oil the grill to prevent fish from sticking.
• Bake whole fish with a crab or shrimp stuffing.
• Add leftover fish in broken pieces to salads, soups or sauces.
Nutritional values for approximately 4 ounces (114 grams) of raw, edible portions
Calories From Fat 20
Total Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 50 mg
Sodium 40 mg
Total Carbohydrates 0 g
Protein 24 g
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services www.fl-seafood.com