If you have ever fished in South Florida, you have probably heard about a crevalle jack. This fish is common and most fisherman throw them back or use them for chum. In the same family as pompanos, jack mackerels and runners, this fish does not get the same love.
Contrary to the belief of many, cevalle jack can be quite tasty if prepared properly. One of the problems with the fish is that the meat can be bloody. To deal with this problem, cut the fish under the gills to remove it’s blood like they do with tuna. After that, place the fish in ice water immediately cutting the gills. This will cause the blood in the meat to move into the organs. Fillet the fish while leaving the skin on. It is very important that you remove the central blood line from the back to the tail.
If your jack has been properly caught and cleaned using the above techniques, you can pretty much cook it using any fish recipe. Some like it blackened, char-grilled, fried and baked. My favorite way is to bake it with lemons and capers. First take your fillets in a oven-safe pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread a layer of butter across the meat, and then sprinkle capers evenly. On top of the butter and capers, place thinly sliced lemon covering the entire surface. Cook until the meat becomes flaky.
For those who have never encountered a crevalle jack, it is a pugnacious-looking fish with a dark spot on it’s gill cover. They are usually 2-5 pounds and can grow much bigger. Small jacks love to swim together in the bays while the bigger ones go offshore and will come back to the bay in September and October. Jacks are tenacious and will do anything to free themselves from the bait, so be patient when reeling one in.