something unusual at a higher price, it may
not go over well.”
But the ribs did go over well. Even
Truluck’s pickiest market, Boca Raton, Fla.,
“went crazy for them,” Wubbena says.
“Fish ribs have picked up momentum
around the country as a trendy menu
item, but I think you will start to see them
become a more-mainstream menu item,
not only in seafood restaurants, but also
in upscale restaurants that want to add
something playful to their menus.”
understand. During a chef conference,
his seafood purveyors set up propane
burners to show Truluck’s chefs how to
prepare the ribs.
“Once they saw it, they got excited about
serving it,” he says.
Sosa at Sammy’s Seafood is not surprised
at pacu’s popularity. “It’s a really cost-
effective item, since the ribs are already
processed. Just season or marinate
them, and throw them on a grill,” he says.
However, he cautions that despite the ribs’
success, they can be difficult to obtain.
“It’s not stocked continuously.”
“The fish ribs go over pretty well,” says Pandel.
“Diners don’t know what they’re getting into,
but are usually pleasantly surprised.”
Wubbena admits that fish ribs can be a
weird concept at first for even chefs to
Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman is a freelance
writer based in Louisville, Ky., and a former
editor of Chef and Chef Educator Today.
When fish ribs become available, chefs
should consider serving them for the playful
touch they add to menus. “Guests usually
react with surprise. It’s surprising that you can
do things like this with fish,” says Sargood.
“The ribs are also versatile and adaptable to
different restaurant concepts. You can use
different flavors with them. You can grill them,
braise them, pan-sear them or bake them.
Jim Sargood, General Manager
Naples Tomato, Naples, Fla.
Yield: 4 servings
has cooked 4-5, minutes, flip ribs over;
baste rib side with sauce. Allow sauce
to caramelize; flip and baste one more
time. Serve immediately.
Pacu Fish Ribs with Galliano/Honeybell Barbecue Sauce
At Naples Tomato, these fish ribs are
served with an heirloom tomato/fennel/
smoked jicama slaw with Gorgonzola/
½ cup sea salt
½ cup cracked black pepper
2 cups chopped herbs
4 pacu ribs
Olive oil, as needed
Galliano/Honeybell Barbecue Sauce
Method: Combine salt, pepper and
herbs. Precut ribs; rub with herb mixture.
Lightly coat ribs with
olive oil. Place on
4-5 minutes; turn
over. Cook, rib-side
down; baste meat
side with barbecue
sauce. After rib side
2 cups Galliano
2 (14-oz.) jars ketchup
½ cup Lingham’s sauce
½ cup brown sugar
4 cups freshly squeezed Honeybell juice
½ cup honey
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Method: In medium saucepan, heat
Galliano over high flame; light to burn
off alcohol. While alcohol is burning off,
mix ketchup, Lingham’s sauce, sugar,
Honeybell juice, honey and Worcestershire
sauce. Once flame has gone out, add
to pan; mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; reduce liquid by a third.
Remove from heat. Cool in ice bath.