Goldspotted Sand Bass Fillet, Fresh
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Often compared to grouper, goldspotted sand bass is an excellent alternative to more expensive snappers and sea bass. It provides a firm, moist texture that flakes larger than most small fish. Mild in flavor, it’s outstanding in batter-fried applications, and presents equally well when baked, broiled, seared or even poached. Its clean flavor also makes it a prime pick for ceviche.
Unmistakable, owing to the golden-orange spots covering its body and most fins, the goldspotted sand bass is a species in the family Serranidae, the sea basses, known as serranos in Mexico. Fish typically dwell in and around rocky and coral reefs at depths between 100 and 500 feet and can be found from Cedros Island south along the west coast of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.
In Baja, goldspotted sand bass is harvested mainly from fishing co-ops, or cooperativos, based in villages off the Baja California Peninsula. Working together, fishermen still use the traditional methods of a simpler time: hand lines and low-impact hand-drawn nets from small, open panga boats. Co-ops range in size from 10-100 pangas with 2-3 fishermen per each boat.