Most fisherman fishing for jack crevalle are doing it for sport. After all, jack crevalles do produce violent topwater bites and drag blistering runs, which make anglers like my husband Ryan go crazy!
Unfortunately, jack crevalle are typically not considered to be a good fish to eat. Similar to bluefish, jacks have dark red meat and a fishy-taste. However, with the right seasonings jack crevalle can be turned into an incredibly delicious dish.
I remember the first time Ryan and I tried jack crevalle. It was on our first trip to Costa Rica and I totally hated it. The jack crevalle meat was dark and red, and it tasted fishy. We quickly realized that the bigger the jack crevalle, the fishier the flavor of the jack crevalle's meat.
So from then on Ryan would release the big jacks and only keeps the smaller ones. Smaller jack crevalle meat tastes far less fishy.
The following is an easy jack crevalle recipe I whip up every time we travel down south to Costa Rica or Mexico. In fact, jack crevalle is the first fish I request Ryan catch whenever we arrive in a tropical destination. We've even been able to enjoy this jack crevalle recipe while staying in Florida.
When cooked in a brine of lime juice, garlic and spices, and then seared to perfection, jack crevalle turns into an absolute delicacy. The texture is similar to steak tips.
For me, this was a whole new experience when it comes to eating fish!
Marinating Jack Crevalle Meat
As is true with many fish that have dark meat, the first thing you want to do is remove all blood lines from the jack crevalle fillet. Next, cut the jack crevalle meat into little bite sized pieces.
Once that's done, squeeze a lime over the bite sized pieces of jack crevalle meat, stirring well. Let it marinate together with 1 TBS of Cajun seasoning, 1 TBS of garlic powder, and about a 1/2 tsp of salt.
You can also use 1 TBS Old Bay Seasoning in place of the cajun, and/or mince 5-6 cloves of garlic in place of the cajun and garlic powder. Depending where we are in the world, we don't always have the luxury of having any ingredient we want, so we've tried all those substitutions in the past with great results
Let that all marinate together in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
Searing Jack Crevalle Meat
Next, get a pan really hot with some coconut or olive oil, and put the cubes of fish and juices into the pan. Let them sit and brown on all sides, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid cooks away.
At this point the jack crevalle meat will be fully cooked, and the cubes of fish should brown edges. The fish will start to caramelize on the outside which creates a deliciously sticky and sweet flavor.
We like to serve this jack crevalle recipe with sautéed vegetables, rice and a small salad of chopped tomato and avocado.
Add a squeeze of lime and some salt to the salad, and you have a brand new recipe you can try whenever you catch a small jack crevalle.
You may not be able to find jack crevalle at your local fish market, but when you're fishing on vacation and come across one, you will now always have this recipe in your arsenal.
Please let me know if you give this a recipe a try by leaving a comment below.
Happy Cooking! 🍽