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Amber Jack

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello all, I have a banquet this week and its chefs choice for entrees. Typically, I serve them tilapia with lemon buree blanc and a chicken dish of some type. I have to keep my cost low since they only pay $11.95 per person.

So this week I called my fish monger and the cheapest fish I could find was Amber Jack @ $5.50 per pound. So I decided to give it a try. I have only worked with Amber Jack once or twice before. I'm leaning towards blackening it and serving a lemon ginger aioli with it.

I was wondering if anyone else has worked with Amber Jack and if so perhaps offer some other suggestions. Thanks
post #2 of 8
To be honest with you, I would not serve it. Here in Florida they try to pass it off as Dolphin(not the Dolphin you see at Disney) The blood line in the fish is huge and must be cut out. The color of fish is not eye appealing and it is greasy and real fishy tasting.
Our local fisherman use it for chum or bait. You can buy it off the boat down at the pier for $1.00 a pound or less. Stick with Tilepia ,or cod or a generic fish from Pacific thats white.:D
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post #3 of 8
Chef Ed, I found your comments about amber jack interesting. I've it twice in the Panama City beach area. Once was grilled, basted with a seasoned butter which was really good. The second time they served it blackened which was still good but not nearly as good as the grilled. In neither case did I find it greasy or fishy tasting.
post #4 of 8
Amber jack is a very oily fish. Oily doesn't mean it's greasy, but it does mean it's strong flavored in the same way mackarel is. In terms of buying for prep and resale for commercial service it's probably a good idea to think of it as another name for mackarel. We have a fish out here called "California yellowtai," which is a either the same fish or something a lot like your Gulf amber jacks.

In my opinion the best preparations are smoking, closely followed by grilling over a live charcoal or wood fire; while the most difficult to manage are sautes. The acceptable finish is very much medium. Push it into well done and you get the same texture and taste changes you get with tuna. If there's any way you can smoke it (no jokes about keeping it lit, okay?) or grill it over a live fire, it might not be a bad choice. Ditto for en papillote preparations. You can sort of treat it like pompano -- it's a pretty close relative after all.

Ed is right about the trimming necessary, but he didn't mention the tails which, as with most pellagic fish, are often wormy. Plan on a fair bit of waste. Speaking of Ed, if it doesn't meet his standards for volume preparation, and volume preparation is what you're planning, I'd listen to him. Simple as that.

BDL
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post #5 of 8
BDL
You are correct in that amberjack is good for smoking, lots of Florida restaurants sell smoked fish dip.
Jack because it is so oily as you stated (I call it greasy, but thats the Brooklyn in me) is great for smoked dip. It is usually put on the appi or bar menu, and past off as Smoked King Fish Dip. They put 1 king filet or 2 and the rest jack, therefore its not false advertiseing .King fish cost a lot more then jack and harder to come by.


It is an easy fish to spot in that it has an amber colored band from its head to the tail. Average one caught here about 8 to 15 Lbs. I have seen one 130Lbs. Fisherman here tell me dont mess with it as it is a fierce preditor, and will bite your arm off.:D
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well I decided to test it out as a special in my restaurant tonight, and I sold about ten orders. Everyone raved about it, so it should be a hit for the banquet.

I sliced the jack into 3oz medallions, gave them a quick sear with some blackening seasons. I fanned out the medallions and served a shrimp scampi over top. I thought it was really good, strong, bold flavors, but not fishy or oily at all IMO
post #7 of 8
Cut 3 ounce and with strong blackening spices, then with garlic butter on top is fine it will mask the stuff. Where I am I could not even get away with calling it Amber-Jack, they would not order it. The people I have are strictly Dover Sole, Black Cod, Pompano en paupette, Local Red Snapper, Sword, Fresh Halibut':D
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post #8 of 8
It might be worthwhile to keep an eye on the fish market. I recently purchased top quality processed-on-the-boat cod from Greenland. It's whole fillet so I am preparing it in the Norwegian style of poaching in salt water. I paid 3.50 lb. for this fish, and it is beautiful. Also, lobster has dropped down to under $16 lb. I'm running a special on lobster tail. I think the market is falling for higher end ingredients, but don't know for sure. The Greenland cod I bought had all been going to Europe. Couldn't get it here for less than $8 lb. Maybe Greenland has the same kind of financial trouble that Iceland does and they're what they can for whatever they can get for it.
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