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Tag: recipes

Tender Is The Trout!–Florida Sportsman “Sportsman’s Kitchen” Article

by on Sep.21, 2013, under Recipes and Food

Seatrout lend themselves to several methods of preparation, but the southern tradition of deep-frying is likely a favorite.   And there’s no reason that fried foods need be greasy.  The use of light cooking oil, like peanut or canola, a simple breading and a hot fire will guarantee results that are crisp, flavorful, and surprisingly healthy.

You’ll have to make the decision whether or not you want to serve your fish as fillets or fingers, known as tenderloins in many areas.  I’d recommend cutting out the bones from smaller fish and then fingering the thick part of the fillet.  If you have big seatrout, picking out the sweet meat under the rib cage is worth the extra effort, so fry the fillets whole. Fillets are probably more appropriate as an entrée; fingers work well as appetizers or in po-boy style sandwiches.

While there are likely as many different types of breading and batters as there are fish in the sea, I prefer a simple coating made from cracker crumbs, plain flour and a dash of Cajun spices.  It’s easy to make and apply–simply dredge your fish in it just as you’re getting ready to fry.

No matter how large the pieces of fish you cook, it’s important that they are put into oil that cooks them quickly.  350 to 375-degrees is the optimum temperature.  If you don’t have a thermometer, simply touch the tip of a ready-to-cook piece of fish into the oil.  If it sizzles, go ahead and start cooking.  As you add additional fillets or fingers, you’ll cool the oil slightly, so it’s important not to cook too many pieces of fish at a time.  When golden brown, your fish is ready to drain on absorbent paper and serve.

If you’re serving your trout in a ‘formal’ setting, consider hushpuppies, Cole slaw and oven-fried potatoes as accompaniments.  This combination will likely earn you accolades comparing you to the best seafood restaurants in your hometown.  A more casual presentation (That means you don’t have to use knives and forks!) is a simple sandwich made with fried fingers, and dressed with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce.

Finally, remember that whether you serve your fish simple or fancy, the ‘secret’s in the sauce’.  Making your own sauces is a simple alternative to store-bought.  Try jazzing up your cocktail sauce with some hot peppers and remember that tartar sauce ain’t nothin’ but mayonnaise, chopped dill pickles and onion.

Foolproof Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 boxed stack Saltine crackers (about 70 crackers)
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun spice

Pulverize the crackers in a food processor; mix in flour and Cajun spice.  Makes enough breading to coat about 2 pounds of trout fillets or fingers.

Tangy Seafood Sauce

  • 1 12-ounce bottle Chili Sauce
  • 1 7-ounce bottle Dat’l Do-it Datil Pepper Hot Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. ground horseradish
  • Juice of a large lemon

Oven-Fried Potato Strips

  • 1/2-pound Russet potatoes (per person)
  • Peanut or canola oil
  • Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and cut potatoes into strips.  Dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Coat a cookie sheet with a light coating of oil.  Arrange potato strips in a single layer.  Bake about 45-minutes, turning strips at least once to ensure browning.  Salt to taste after baking.

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How To Avoid Fish Grilling Disasters, Florida Sportsman Article

by on Aug.27, 2013, under Recipes and Food

I was once afraid to put fish on the grill.  Not that I was a stranger to grilling all sorts of meats and fowl, but I could almost always count on whatever fish I put on the grill turning to small torn pieces long before it reached the dinner table.  But that was before I received a short fish-grilling lesson from my friend, Chef Jim Hunt, proprietor of Fiddler’s Restaurant in Steinhatchee.

Whether he’s ‘fancy grilling’ with Cajun spices or ‘simple grillin’ for folks who don’t want any extra calories, Jim has a knack for delivering perfectly cooked fish to his customers.  The grill marks are well defined, yet the interior of the fish is never over or undercooked.  According to the chef, his success has a lot to do with the fish species he chooses to grill—and to his patience at the grill.

So not to overcook your fish, be sure to select cuts that are not too thin.  Thin fillets from small flounder and snapper may not work with this technique, but thick grouper fillets or steaks from cobia, amberjack, mahi-mahi, wahoo and swordfish perform well.  A very hot grill is essential to successful fish grilling, as is leaving the fish over the fire long enough to caramelize the surface that contacts the grill’s grate.  If you pull the fish away from the grate too soon, it will certainly stick.   If you pull it too late, it will be burned.  Coating the fish with a thin coating of olive oil helps the process and almost guarantees that your fish will be served in picture-perfect condition.   Just as you’ve learned to judge the doneness of a grilled beef steak, you’ll learn to recognize when it’s time to turn your fish and whether it’s done or not.  An easy way to tell if your fish is ready to turn is to watch its edges.  You’ll be able to see the edges cook and when they’re fully cooked, it’s time to turn.  You can also test by gently lifting the fish fillet or steak with a spatula.  If it comes loose, it’s time to turn.  If it’s still stuck, let it be.  Final doneness is usually determined by the touch of a finger.  Don’t let your fish cook so long on the second side that it’s hard to the touch.  A slight bit of spring-back is usually right.

Perfectly grilled fish deserves a nice presentation. Consider plating your fish in a pool of tasty sauce.  One of Jim’s favorites for grilled fish is his own version of Argentine Chimichurri.  Its fresh spicy flavor adds to that of the fresh fish, but doesn’t cover it up. Add a cool cucumber salad to round out your meal and you’ll soon have all your friends and family begging you to continue in your role as champion of the grill.

Grilled Swordfish with Chimichurri!

Fiddler’s Chimichurri

1 cup (loosely packed) Italian Parsley leaves

1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves

6 cloves fresh garlic

1/2  tsp. powdered cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Chop the dry ingredients coarsely in a food processor.  Then, with the processor still running, add the Tabasco sauce, red wine vinegar and enough olive oil to attain thee desired consistency.  A half-cup of oil is a good start.  The thicker the sauce, the more intense the flavor will be.  This simple recipe makes enough sauce to serve with 4 8-ounce pieces of fish.  And it can be made a day or two in advance of your cookout, and refrigerated.

Cucumber Salad

I’ve never understood why anyone would want to put sugar into a cucumber salad.  That said; thinly slice some small Kirby cucumbers and a bit of red onion and then toss them with olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Season to taste with salt, black pepper, dried oregano and crushed red pepper.  And NO sugar!

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Would you believe it? Requests for Scalloping Information! In December!

by on Dec.01, 2010, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Horseshoe Beach, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

I’ve been getting requests for information on bay scallops and our Big Bend bay scalloping season.  So, just to make it easier (and so I don’t forget!), I’ve added a page to this site that deals with that tasty subject.  You’re welcome to read it now by simply clicking on the link at the top right corner of the page that says “bay scallops–the gulf of mexico’s tastiest treat”

Have fun…I’m hungry for scallops already!

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