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How-to Content • Updated Mon, Feb 12, 2024

Sheepshead Recipe Two Ways

The delectable flavor of sheepshead may be harnessed in countless ways. Here we’ve relied on the tried and tested methods of North Carolina native, Capt. Tim Disano. Growing up in Calabash, North Carolina, Capt. Tim has always been surrounded by some of the best seafood you can eat. Next door neighbors would often proclaim to have the best versions of classic seafood staples, honing Tim’s palate and leading him to cultivate recipes of his own. With a lifetime of guiding under his belt, Tim has caught every fish there is in North Carolina, resulting in some excellent recipes that highlight the flavor of each fish. These two mouthwatering sheepshead recipes are designed to bring out the best in this delicious fish. Whether you prefer the simplicity of grilling or the classic appeal of frying, these recipes are sure to make your catch of the day a culinary delight.

This article covers:

  • Full of Flavor & Healthy Too
  • Grilled Sheepshead Recipe
  • Fried Sheepshead Recipe
  • Sheepshead Recipe FAQ

Full of Flavor & Healthy Too

Sheepshead are known universally as good eating. This fish has what is often described as a mild, somewhat sweet flavor — comparable to flounder or cod. Because of its mild flavor, sheepshead tastes great cooked a variety of ways, takes on flavors very well, and pairs deliciously with most accompaniments. The reason that this fish tastes great is the same reason that makes it a surprisingly healthy option: sheepshead have an incredibly diverse diet (something we should all strive for). As an omnivorous fish, sheepshead will eat just about anything including octopus, algae, seaweed, vertebrates, you name it. This full spectrum of food leaves the sheepshead both delicious and high in potassium, phosphorus, sodium, as well vitamins A, B-9, and B-12 — essential for a healthy digestive and nervous system. 

Grilled Sheepshead Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 sheepshead filets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Everglades seasoning (or your favorite seasoning blend)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Cajun seasoning to taste

Directions

  1. Filet the sheepshead, removing the skin if desired.
  2. Season the filets with salt, pepper, and Everglades seasoning.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet with a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Place the filets in the skillet and grill until the edges turn white and the fish becomes flaky.
  5. While the fish cooks, mix softened butter, minced garlic, and cajun seasoning in a bowl.
  6. Spoon the seasoned butter over the filets as they cook, allowing it to absorb the flavors.
  7. Serve the grilled, golden-brown sheepshead with rice and sautéed summer vegetables for a delicious, healthy meal.

Note: The high-fat content of sheepshead provides an unmatched flavor that pairs perfectly with the simplicity of grilling.

Fried Sheepshead Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 sheepshead (one filet with skin on and one filet still attached to fish)
  • ¼ cup of mustard
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Flour for breading
  • Cornmeal for breading
  • Cajun spices to taste
  • Cooking oil for frying

Directions

  1. Scale the entire fish and filet one side, leaving the skin on.
  2. Remove the head and clean the cavity to have one skin-on filet and one side of meat attached to the skeleton.
  3. Mix mustard and lemon juice, rub it on the filets, and refrigerate the filets for 15 minutes.
  4. In another bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, and cajun spices for the breading.
  5. Heat oil in a pan for frying.
  6. Coat the fish in the flour mixture and fry until golden brown, avoiding overcooking.
  7. Enjoy moist, juicy filets and flavorful whole fish sides with sides like coleslaw, hush puppies, and a refreshing cold beer.

Note: The use of mustard as a binder and the seasoned breading add a delightful crunch and flavor to the fried sheepshead, making it a perfect dish to share with friends after a successful day on the water.

Sheepshead Recipe FAQ

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