Seventh Day of Ford’s Christmas – Chesapeake Puffer Fish

For the Seventh Day of Ford’s Christmas, we’re highlighting a dish that’s truly unique to the Ford’s menu. Today, Chef Tony will share the history behind the Chesapeake Puffer Fish appetizer.

From Chef Tony
Chesapeake Puffer Fish are a native species to the Chesapeake Bay. What makes this fish unique is its ability to puff up into a prickly ball to deter predators. They are tiny fish, but when a Chesapeake Puffer becomes excited or alarmed, it can puff up to the size of a softball.

When we first opened Ford’s Fish Shack, I was trying to come up with unique species to place on our menu to differentiate us from other seafood restaurants. We tried everything, from halibut cheeks to cod tongue to frog legs, but nothing seemed to be to the standard I wanted for the Ford’s menu.

Finally, I sourced some local Chesapeake Puffer Fish (they are caught in coastal Virginia) and started to play with different preparations. I tried grilling them, then I tried sautéing them, but it just wasn’t working the way I wanted. Finally, somewhat out of frustration, I simply breaded it, fried it, and tossed it with some Buffalo sauce. When the dish was plated, someone said that it looked like little chicken wings. We tried it and, at that time, I knew we had a hit!

Now guests call ahead to make sure we have this available before coming in to dine. This is one of the dishes on our menu that has almost a cult-like following.

This has always been on the Ford’s menu as Fish Wings, but recently, we renamed the dish to Chesapeake Puffer Fish to make it stand out and to let guests know that it’s a locally caught species.


12 Days of Ford’s Christmas
Introducing the 12 Days of Ford’s Christmas! Each day, we will feature one of our menu items on our website and share some behind-the-scenes information about the item. You’ll learn the story behind these dishes, where and how we source ingredients, how some of the menu items got their names, and much more!

Read the story and then head over to the Ford’s Fish Shack Facebook pages to answer a question about that day’s feature for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

Ford’s Fish Shack Ashburn Facebook
Ford’s Fish Shack Lansdowne Facebook
Ford’s Fish Shack South Riding Facebook

Contest Details
The dates for this contest are December 13 to December 26, 2018. This contest will be posted on all three of our Ford’s Fish Shack Facebook pages. Play on each page to increase your chances to win. Each correct answer via a Facebook comment on the post counts as one entry for the drawing. You must follow at least one of the Ford’s Fish Shack Facebook pages as well as the Ford’s Wicked Catering Facebook page to be eligible to win. One winner will be randomly selected at the end of the contest to win a $100.00 Ford’s Fish Shack gift card. We will announce the winner on December 27, 2018.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Facebook.