Piaractus brachypomus

Freshwater fish native to the Mato Grosso do Sul wetlands (Pantanal), also found in the Amazon, Araguaia-Tocantins and La Plata rivers’ basins. The flesh, high in fat, goes well with several cooking methods, although the preferred one is to bake the whole fish, stuffed with farofa (seasoned manioc flour). In the Midwest regions, the ribs (called ventrecha), are cut into large strips and then breaded and fried, chargrilled, roasted, or cooked in a griddle. The closed season runs from November to February – it should therefore be consumed only from March to October. Fun fact: similarly to piranha, a close relative, pacu has prominent teeth that allow it to break seeds, nuts shells and fruit skins from which it feeds.