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My dad led a simple life and only wanted the most basic things. If he were around today, he would have enjoyed this Baked Pompano I cooked for its simplicity and ease. Despite the few ingredients I used, this baked fish was packed with flavors that can only be obtained by using the freshest fish and seafood.
I’ve always believed that honoring our parents like on Father’s Day should be done every day and not just one day in a year. When I was a child we didn’t celebrate Father’s Day in the Philippines. Father’s Day is an American holiday. But the retail industry likes to blow up the magnitude of the holiday so that if you don’t do anything for your father in these present times, then you feel guilty…. or at least social media reminds you to feel bad about forgetting dad.
Anyway, I cooked this Baked Pompano for this weekend because it was easy to do. It is a dish that can go from an everyday meal to a special family celebratory entree. And it reminded me of my dad so much. Daddy had fish and seafood for his meals nearly every day. He loved fish. He believed fish oil had excellent nutrition benefits. Dad encouraged mom to use the fresh vegetables he grew in our backyard and farm with the fish dishes she prepared. I learned many different recipes of fish and seafood from mom because dad loved them.
In his lifetime, my dad, Gualberto Besa showed positive emotions all the time. Gratitude, optimism and faith were a way of life for him. He was generous to a fault. He gave back to the community unselfishly without expecting anything in return. He did so through good works, donations and kindness to all. Dad was on the right path by doing this. Research shows happy people are more open to helping others. They even live longer, more fulfilled lives.
And dad really did. He didn’t ask for much and didn’t want for anything. Faith, family and friends were all he needed. It was the most simple and basic things in life that made him the happiest dad on earth. We miss him dearly.
- Oven-proof Roasting Pan or Casserole Dish: 9 x 13 inches
- 1.5 to 2 pounds whole fresh pompano whole fish, cleaned and gutted (or use fillets)
- 1/4 cup calamansi or lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon patis fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper powder
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 knob fresh ginger sliced in 1-inch small strips, about 1/8 cup
- 2 stalks scallions or green onions chopped, edges trimmed
- 1 whole large tomato sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/3 cup green peas
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 medium-sized red or green bell pepper sliced for garnish
- 1 to 2 whole fresh lemons sliced for garnish
- steamed rice for serving
- When you get home from the market, if cooking with a whole fish, wash with running water inside and outside. If you prefer fillets, wash with water, as well.
- To marinate a whole fish with head and tail intact, score the fish skin diagonally twice on both sides. These slits help the marinade penetrate through. Marinate the fish with calamansi juice (or lemon), patis (fish sauce), salt and black pepper all over, both inside and outside. Do the same if using fillets. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes (do not marinate fish longer than 30 minutes).
- In a small bowl, mix the chopped onions, minced fresh garlic and ginger. Add the chopped tomatoes, scallions and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Take out the marinated fish from the refrigerator. Arrange the fish or fillets on a pre-greased baking pan which fits the fish.
- Place fish in an oven-proof roasting pan or casserole dish. Fill the fish cavity with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the onion-tomato mixture (if using a whole fish with head and tail) . Scatter the rest of the onion-tomato mixture and green peas on top of the fish. Dab a few pieces of butter over the fish. Cover with foil and seal all over.
- Bake fish in a preheated oven of 350 F for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil from the fish and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes more. Garnish with red pepper strips and lemon slices. Serve warm with rice.
- Cook's comments: Feel free to use other types of white fish for this recipe if more convenient. Cook fish the same day it was purchased for best results.
- Hello, Friends! All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos and recipe content I wrote, on your website, films or videos without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe or content on another website, video or news article, please ASK my permission, re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]
Recently moved to China where I now share some of the cooking responsibilities. This is because my wife is teaching English to small Chinese bundles of energy while I practice guitar and make daily field trips to coffee shops and other places, where I attempt to promote innocent bystanders to the position of my Chinese Language Teacher. I saw at a local grocery store Pompano, which I once had the pleasure of actually catching while surf fishing with my daughter in the Florida Pan Handle. Not realizing what we had we threw them back. Later I discovered they were not only extremely fun to catch but also wonderful to eat.
Due to the fact that I did not recognize any of the other fish stocked both live and on ice at my local store. And, also my desire to maintain my semi-retired lifestyle. I thought, this is my chance to justify my being at home while my spouse is dealing with 3-5 year old’s, which she had not done in about 30 years since raising our own. If I could have a gourmet meal waiting…my unemployed bohemian lifestyle could be justified.
Thank you Gualberto Besa for pointing your daughter, Betty Ann down such a wholesome path. Thank you Betty Ann for sharing the recipe. It probably took me twice as long as it should have but it turned out perfectly. I followed your recipe closely, including buying and cooking the same day. My wife raved from the first bite to the last. I bought at least another week of unemployment grace and pretty much convinced myself that I am a great cook. I hope my next recipe turns out as well as yours.
Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the kind comments. You made my day. It makes me so happy when friends and readers come back to tell me how they enjoyed my recipe. Sounds like you are a fabulous culinary pro. Keep cooking!
I really got touched with your love of your passed dad God bless you both
Thank you for the kind words, Nas!
I recently purchased a frozen whole pompano fish from the local Asian grocery store…would it work here????
Yes, Lori, that would work. Enjoy 🙂
I tried this today and wow oh wow! This recipe is a keeper! Thank you so much, Betty! I love the recipe so much that I forwarded this site to all my friends and relatives! Mixing the lemon zest with the garlic and the ginger is genius! So so so good! Thank you!
Thanks, Pam. It makes me so happy when friends like you enjoy my recipes. Thanks for forwarding my blog to your family. Stay well 🙂