With its versatile flavor profile, similar to snapper or halibut, scamp is a rare, but delicious addition to any meal. Scamp is a type of grouper with white, lean flesh that adapts well to a variety of cooking methods. You can recreate the crunchy fried grouper that is a specialty throughout the South -- especially in Florida -- or capture the flavor of summer by cooking it on the grill. No matter how you choose to cook or season it, you're in for a treat when you add scamp fish to your menu.
Turn the grill on to preheat it to high, or until the coals are red-hot. Brush the grates with a grill brush and lightly oil or spray cooking spray onto the grates.
Season the scamp while the grill is heating up. You can use your favorite spice blend or season it with something as simple as salt and black pepper. Because the fish has a mild taste, it pairs well with many herbs, spices and flavors.
Place the fish on the grill, grilling it for about nine minutes for each inch of thickness. Turn the fish halfway through cooking by flipping it with a spatula.
Test the scamp for doneness by checking it with a fork. The flesh should be flaky and opaque when it’s finished cooking.
Pour some flour onto a dinner plate and bread crumbs on a second plate. Beat some eggs with water in a shallow bowl and arrange the three dishes to form your dredging station, placing them in the following order: Flour, egg, breadcrumbs.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once you can feel the heat when you place your hand over the pan, add cooking oil.
Dredge the scamp by dipping it into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Set the fish aside until the oil has finished heating.
Add the scamp to your pan once the oil is shimmering. Cook the scamp for three to five minutes, turning once. The fish is done when it is golden brown with opaque flesh that flakes when you test it with a fork. Cook the fish for roughly 10 minutes for each inch of the fish's thickness. If your scamp is only 1-inch thick, it should only need 10 minutes. If it is 1 1/2 inches thick, cook it for 15 minutes.
- The Great American Seafood Cookbook; Susan Hermann Loomis
- Coasting; Jolance Edwards and Carolyn L. Goodloe
- Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking: Nathalie Dupree
- Le Cordon Bleu: Cooking Florida Grouper – Three Meals You Must Make at Home
- The Key Wester: Key West Recipe’s -- Island Genn’s Famous Key West Fried Grouper Bites
- Marinate the scamp to maximize its flavor. One very simple recipe calls for the scamp to be coated in mustard -- preferably spicy or Dijon -- and placed in the refrigerator for two to four hours before grilling.
- Although you can use the timing and flaking method to text for doneness, if you want to be more precise, check the fish by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.