Whole Grilled Scup

by Betsy Carnie

I grew up eating whole grilled scup (also known as “porgies” or “pogies”). If I caught one during dinner at the beach with family and friends, my father would throw the whole fish on the grill for me. When he gave it back, I would peel away the skin and nimbly eat off the delicious flesh, peel away the backbone, eat the filet on the other side, and then wash my hands in the sea.
Whole Grilled Scup

Elizabeth Cecil

Catching scup yourself may be the easiest way to come by them around here (and they’re very easy to catch). Otherwise, scup is generally considered a bycatch and not commonly sold in markets on the Island. I was happy to find it on-Island at the Menemsha Fish Market, where the proprietor told me he usually has it in stock because he likes to eat it himself. To keep a summer meal like this simple, I recommend gutting the fish (don’t bother scaling it because the skin can be peeled away after it’s cooked), rubbing it with a little olive oil, and cooking it on the grill for about five minutes on each side. Test for doneness with a fork. The flesh should be soft and yielding.