Fish Philadelphia

Filed in The Gentrys Pantry, The Sporting Angler by on February 17, 2016 0 Comments

Fish Philadelphia came to my attention during a period in my life when I was attempting to overcome a medium grade phobia about deep water.  I had always been a poor swimmer due to a natural tendency to sink like a stone so taking my delight in field sports as a entry to a ‘cure’ I took up spear fishing–for a while.  The original result was less than successful but I did get one real benefit out of it, Fish Philadelphia.

Origins of Fish Philadelphia

On the East Coast of Baja California is the town of San Felipe.  It’s quite a tourist center and has lots of hotels, motels, restaurants and cafe’s.  Among them is the Baja Mar. If you go there and look on the menu for Fish Philadelphia, you won’t find it.  But if you bring the chef a fish and ask for it, he’ll make it.  I think it may have been his masterpiece back in  cooking school but really have no idea.  I never spoke to him.  How it came about that the following recipe is before you was that I went diving with Dale Pearson who used to guide spear fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico.  We’d boat down the coast to the Islas Encatadas, dive for a couple of days and stay in Bufeo then haul our catch back up the coast to Baja Mar.  A shower, change of clothes, a couple of beers and we’d be ready for dinner and while we were at it the chef was working his magic.

Fish Philadelphia in the Kitchen


  • The Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. each Italian parsley and cilantro
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ lb. sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • ¼ cup (more or less) water
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • Any fish that makes a fairly long fillet.  Grouper, Triggerfish or white sea bass are great and I’m sure that salmon, pike, steelhead or walleye would do beautifully


  1. Cut the fillet of the fish into long strips about 2” wide.
  2. Cut a slice off the end of a “cube” of Philadelphia cream Cheese and wrap the fillet around it, like a cinnamon roll.
  3. Wrap a strip of partially cooked bacon around the roll and hole the whole thing together with a bamboo skewer.
  4. In a preheated pan, pour the oil and heat until fragrant.  Add all the onion, bell pepper, carrots, herbs, and tomato and stir until all the vegetables are mixed with the oil.  Let it cook until the onions are just translucent then add the mushrooms and garlic.  Stir for about 15 seconds then add the sherry.  Cover and let cook for a bit.  Sprinkle the flour over the whole thing and stir it in, then add the cream and the water stirring until you have a sauce that is the consistency you prefer.  Put the fish wheels into the sauce, spoon the sauce over them, cover, reduce to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the fish is properly cooked.  Season to taste.  Place the fish on dinner plates, spoon some of the sauce over the top and put the rest into a sauce or gravy boat.  Serve with lots of steamed rice and pour the sauce over that. For freshwater fish, a nice Riesling is better and hot sourdough bread a necessity.  You have to sop up the sauce with something, after all.




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