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JLA Architects with an Appetite: Jaime Anderson

Architects with an Appetite: Jaime Anderson

Jaime Anderson, Senior Project Specialist at JLA, fell in love with this recipe while dining at a friend’s house in North Dakota.  Read on for the recipe and story.

Tell us the story behind the recipe.

Jaime: I went to a friend’s house for dinner about five or six years ago and they were preparing this fish.  They served the fish whole (eyes and all!) and thought that it would freak me out enough to not eat it.  I wasn’t turned off at all and ate the fish (skin included).   My friends are from Cameroon, Africa, and they grew up eating a lot of fish because it was more affordable than other protein options.  I could relate, because I grew up fishing and hunting for food as well.  They served it to me along with some of their homemade plantains, and it was so delicious!  Pompano is an oily fish on its own and fish oil is so good for you, it’s one healthy dish I enjoy.  Every time I make it, it reminds me of my friends back in North Dakota, and my time growing up fishing in South Dakota.

Baked Pampano Fish


  • 2 Whole Pompano’s (see below where I find locally)
  • Old Bay Seasoning (don’t be shy)
  • 1-2 TSP Salt
  • 1 TSP Pepper
  • ½ Medium Yellow Onion
  • 2 TSP Minced Roasted Garlic (add more if you like!)
  • Olive Oil


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap tinfoil on a cooking sheet and drizzle with a fair amount of olive oil make sure oil covers the entire tin foil surface.

Cut the onion into ring-shaped slices.  Approx 1/8” in size (thin) and set aside.

Clean the fish with cold water. I prefer to use the whole fish (many markets will clean it and cut it the way you want, though).  Pat the fish dry with a paper towel to get all the water off (both sides).  Place the fish on the cooking sheet and fill the chest cavity with the sliced onions. Add half of the Minced Roasted Garlic to each fish cavity.  Spread as evenly as you can.  Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over the fish and rub the fish to ensure it is coated evenly. Generously coat the fish in Old Bay Seasoning, (you can’t really add too much in my opinion). Add Salt & Pepper. Flip the fish over and repeat the olive oil, Old Bay Seasoning, Salt & Pepper steps.

Place the fish in the oven on the middle rack for 25-35 minutes or until fish has almost reached temperature (approx. 130-135 degrees F; 145 degrees F is when the fish has reached temperature). Then turn the broiler on high (if you raise the rack, broil on low) allowing the fish skin to crisp up (there are no scales on this kind of fish, so the fish skin is edible and very delicious).  Be sure to watch it closely so you don’t burn it!   When the fish skin is crisp to your liking, flip the fish and repeat to crisp the other side.  Once crisp and 145 degrees, your fish is ready to enjoy.

How have you made the recipe your own?

Jaime: I haven’t changed much besides adding the onions and garlic inside.  I was looking at additional ways to prepare it and came across adding something inside. I am not a big fan of citrus on fish, so I tried the onion and garlic and it fit the flavor profile perfectly. I love garlic so if you are not a garlic fan, reduce as you like.

I also get the fish here locally, in Milwaukee, at Raja Bazaar Zabiha Organic Meat & Grocery Store in Brookfield.  But other locations to get Pompano might be Halel Stores, Asian Food Markets, or Fish Markets.

Final question, is there a favorite dish or recipe you have enjoyed from another JLA team member (or one you are hoping to try)?

Jaime: Oh man, that is a tough choice given all the great recipes people have shared.  I enjoyed many of the chilis when we did the chili cookoff but I cannot remember who was whose.   Otherwise, I would have to say that I am looking forward to trying Scotty [Cieslak]’s brisket.

About Architects with an Appetite

Food is a universal language that connects us. It can tell a story, evoke a memory, or simply comfort us. The Architects with an Appetite blog series is designed to showcase our team and share our recipes and the stories behind them. Chili Competitions, Dip Offs, and potlucks are commonplace in the JLA offices, and it’s no secret around the ‘halls’  that our team members love to share and swap recipes— we’ve even toyed with the idea of a JLA Cookbook.  So we thought, why not share some of our favorite recipes with you?  We hope you enjoy them! 

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