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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: salad

Keep Seafood COLD, Not Just COOL — For Safety’s Sake!

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Cedar Key, Recipes and Food

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When fishing, there’s never enough ice. Of course, keeping drinks and lunch cool is important, but “cool” doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to the safe storage of our catch. Once boated, both shellfish and finfish begin to degrade quickly. There are, however, a few tricks to remember.

 

The first thing to do is to get your ice as cold as possible. If you plan a fishing trip, throw a small bag of ice in the cooler the night before. Pre-cooling the cooler will temper it, and ice will last longer in the next day’s heat. Then, as close to your point of departure as is possible, fill you cooler completely with ice. And, if possible, put a couple reusable frozen ice packs like the Arctic Ice Tundra or a handful of frozen bottles of water under your store-bought ice. That will prevent some melting and your ice will last longer.

 

Second, once your catch starts coming aboard, drain any water off your ice, add a few quarts of salt water to create a super-cooled slurry, and put your catch into the ice right away. Don’t leave fish on the deck to die, as just a few minutes in the hot sun can make a big difference at the dinner table.

 

Finally, with regards to seafood safety, use an appropriate cooler. Unfortunately, the better coolers are the most expensive, but they do hold ice longer. Know that white coolers reflect sunlight and stay cooler while dark ones absorb heat, and any cooler kept in the shade will work best. And if you already own a dark surfaced cooler, consider covering it with a white towel.

 

 

Island Hotel’s Hearts of Palm Salad

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Here’s a cool recipe that’s perfect for a hot summer day. It was originally created by Bessie Gibbs at Cedar Key’s Island Hotel in the 1950’s. The current owners of the hotel, Andy and Stanley Bair, shared it with me. It’s simple, and flexible. The key to its unique flavor is the dressing, the hearts of palm, and the chopped, sugared dates.

 

Seasonal greens and fruits (sliced kiwis, grapes, strawberries, melon chunks)

Sugared dates, chopped

Hearts of palm, cut into bite-sized pieces

 

 

 

 

Dressing (serves 4-6)

 

Thoroughly combine the following and re-freeze. Put a scoop atop the assembled salad just before you serve.

 

1-pint vanilla ice cream

1-pint lime sherbet

1/4-cup peanut butter

1/4-cup mayonnaise

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Shrimp and Avocado Salad

by on May.25, 2014, under Recipes and Food

Fine dining doesn’t necessarily involve rocket science.  Some recipes have more to do with quality ingredients than fancy techniques, and this cool, refreshing shrimp and avocado salad is a perfect example.  All you really need to be able to do is boil shrimp and perform some basic cutting and stirring.

I’m often surprised by the number of questions I receive regarding problems with boiled foods like rice, grits, pasta, and shrimp.  Rice and grits involve the proper ratio of water to grain. And pasta involves the time-tested technique of pulling a strand from the boiling water and tossing it onto the fridge door to see if it sticks.   Shrimp can be trickier, but my method seems to work well, especially if the shrimp are medium in size.  First, bring a BIG pot of water to a boil.  Don’t add salt and only add some Old Bay seasoning if you’re doing a peel-and-eat affair—not for this recipe.  Add your cold shrimp, and then let the water come back to a boil.  Drain the shrimp into a colander or strainer and immediately cover with ice to chill.  That’s it.  They’re done and ready to eat.

In recent years avocados have become easier to find throughout the year.  Of course, in cooler months there’s no short supply of those bright green and tasty “alligator pears” from the southern part of our state.  The rest of the year the smaller, dark-skinned Haas avocados from California or Mexico will just have to do.  The Haas variety is usually just as flavorful, but often requires ripening in a paper bag (along with a banana, if you’ve got one) for a day or so after purchase at your local supermarket.  Look for the Florida “pears” at roadside stands, where they’re more likely to be ripe, ready to eat, and the product of a local producer’s back yard.

There’s a fairly long list of ingredients for this recipe, but don’t be dismayed.  You don’t need much more than a whisk to pull this one off, and the individual flavors of mustard, chili sauce, garlic and Tabasco all stand out with each bite, not overwhelming the avocado chunks and the shrimp themselves.  And it’s the shrimp that make the dish the highlight of many a summer lunch or dinner.  But what about using Florida lobster?  I’ve got lobster rolls on my mind!

Shrimp & Avocado Salad

6 tbs. olive oil

4 tbs. white wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 lbs. medium shrimp (peeled, deveined and boiled)

1 cup mayonnaise

4 tbs. chili sauce

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

2 large Florida avocados (or 5 or 6 Haas avocados)

4 tbs. fresh dill, minced

4 tbs. chives, minced

salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Lemon juice

Whisk the oil, vinegar and mustard.  Add mix to shrimp, toss thoroughly and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.  Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, chili sauce, garlic, Tabasco, dill, chives, salt and pepper until smooth.  Set aside.  Peel, seed and cube the avocados and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.  When shrimp has marinated, drain, gently fold in avocado cubes and the mayonnaise mixture.  Garnish with dill sprigs and lemon wedges; serve with a dry white wine and crusty bread.  (Feeds 8 at a debutante ball or 4 hungry fishermen)

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