Summer is here! And with it comes one of my favorite summer pastimes… fishing!! Yesterday I caught my first ever keeper speckled trout. Coincidentally, last night I had my tastiest grilled fish ever. So I decided to share with you some of my favorite recipes for your fresh summer catches.
I’ll start with last night’s dinner. I’ve always wanted to cook a fish whole (head, eyeballs, you name it) and then eat it off the bone. That’s what we did with my trout. It’s super simple, but elegant and amazing.
Step one: Catch a delicious spotted trout. Check!
Step two: Clean. Usually this means we scale, gut, filet, de-bone and clean. But for this fish, I wanted to keep it whole, so we followed Captain Vince’s directions for cleaning and gutting a trout:
Step three: Prepare and cook. We scored the skin, doused it in salt and butter, and stuffed the cavity with tons of fresh herbs and lemon slices. Then we threw him on a hot grill for about 5-7 minutes each side.
Step yum: Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs. Squeeze some lemon juice over him. Toast to your fish. Enjoy!
That is probably my favorite way to enjoy fish, nice and fresh and unpretentious. Especially if you catch something really tasty, like trout or pompano.
Here’s the camping version of this recipe. I’ve always referred to them as Hobo Packets…
Basically, you clean and filet fish, then make a bed of fresh herbs and lemon slices in a parchment paper packet. Top bed with seasoned fish, add fresh sliced vegetables such as onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, shredded carrot, etc. Don’t forget butter and olive oil, and even a splash of white wine if you’re feeling so inclined. We’ve done this over a camp fire as well as at home in the oven. While both are delicious, there’s just something about cooking it over a campfire that trumps any other method. It tastes better somehow…
So those were the fresh, healthier (butter aside) ways to prepare fish. Here are a few more indulgent options…
Probably my all-time favorite, never-get-sick-of-them meal is tacos. So when I come home with a nice sized whiting, my favorite thing to do is either fry them up or blacken them, then throw them in some soft tortillas with a fresh slaw and some Cholula. Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. I asked my husband what the best blackening seasoning is, and without missing a beat he said, “Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic”. So, there you go. Or, you can make your own seasoning by mixing some combination of the following:
- paprika (sweet, smoked or a blend)
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- cayenne pepper
- white & black pepper (freshly ground)
- dried thyme
- dried oregano
The other magical way to prepare fresh whiting is blackened over grits. If you haven’t added an embarrassing amount of butter, cheese and heavy cream to your grits, then you haven’t done it right.
Of course, we don’t come home from every fishing adventure with dinner. But sometimes just being in the sun, near the water makes for a pretty good day. Plus, we live down the road from no less than 4 fresh seafood markets, so when we strike out we can always turn to the pros (for dinner and fishing tips). In conclusion, if you live in Florida, and you aren’t eating meals like these, you are MISSING. OUT.
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare fish? Favorite fish markets? Fishing tips? Favorite spots?