The spot, a noble fish, still favored by Chesapeake cooks connected to place. Meade and Charles Amory of Amory’s Seafood in Hampton, Virginia, note that the spot was one of the five favored fish in the historic fisheries of the Chesapeake. Conversations with Danny Doughty and Mary “Mama Girl” Onley elicited recollections of fish “fried hard” and served with pan-fried apples, baked sweet potatoes, and “short bread” – the last a variation on baked dumplings.
The spot, claims our friend Pooh Johnston, got its distinctive markings from where Jesus touched the fish and divided them to feed the multitude. Even if it’s fiction, Danny remarked, it should be true. Fried spot would be tasty on this chill and rainy afternoon, but, alas, they have fled to warmer waters not to return until the coming summer. I’ll be ready when they return.
H.M. Arnold, proprietor of the Bayford Oyster House, describes salting spot (and other fish) for winter meals. Click to listen to HM Arnold on salting spot and other fish.