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Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

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Recipes for Fish and things that go with it, also Fileting and Cleaning tips.

Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:00 pm

Mahi, lobster, snapper, grouper, wahoo, we all know those are excellent table fare.

But what about the lesser knowns? The fish you can't buy at the market? Have you eaten amberjack, toro, or some other fish that many toss back without a second thought? Are you the intrepid angler who caught the first monkfish (which a friend of mine calls "mother in law fish") and said "yep, I am totally gonna eat that toe looking slug with fins"?

My first time offshore I caught a pretty decent blue runner. The people I was with convinced me it was useless, even as bait, so I threw it back. Next time I caught one, I was with somebody who knew better. Turns out, if you completely cut out the bloodline (dark lateral line) when you clean and fillet it, the flesh does not take on an iron flavor. The result is a nice flavorful fish that is actually far more mild than spanish mackerel. Even better if you soak overnight in buttermilk, which works to lessen the "fishyness" of any fish.

Finally, since almost all of you have a million times my experience on the water and have been an excellent resource, I want to try to give back with something I do know how to do.

For an excellent seafood (or any meat really) recipe:

Rub the fish with olive oil. Wait until immediately before cooking to salt and pepper the meat (go easy on the salt if not using unsalted butter for the next step below), Using a stainless steel skillet (not a nonstick or cast iron), sear the meat 3-5 minutes per side on medium or medium high. You want a nice build up of brown stuff (not to be confused with burnt pieces of meat) on the bottom of the pan. That brown stuff is called "fond" and is the key to a flavorful sauce!

Remove the meat, and keep it someplace warm. An oven set to 175 degrees works fine. Now, you will deglaze the pan, which is a poncy word for "add liquid." Pour 1/3 cup of your liquid of choice. For fish, I use a dry white wine (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc). Using a wooden spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan and dissolve all that brown stuff in the wine. It should be bubbling at this point. Drop it to low heat and keep heating it until it thickens (which, in poncy, is called a reduction).

Cut 2-3 tablespoons of butter into 4-6 pieces and melt two at a time in the sauce while whisking it. Finally, stir in your seasoning of choice. Examples: garlic, parsley, chives, scallions, or whatever suits your mood. Fresh green herbs work wonders. Drizzle over the meat and serve!
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby kblue » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:25 am

The recipe sounds interesting...
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby Green Tide » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:31 pm

You should of put that in the recipie section
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:42 pm

I thought I did :scratch:
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby PhishingPhanatic » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:50 pm

Yep, basically making a beurre blanc pan sauce. I do the exact same thing, except I add lemon juice and capers at the end.
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:17 pm

PhishingPhanatic wrote:Yep, basically making a beurre blanc pan sauce. I do the exact same thing, except I add lemon juice and capers at the end.


Very similar, yes. The beurre sauce can be prepared separately and sometimes has cream. It also cooks a little differently to give a thicker, emulsified sauce like hollandaise or béarnaise.

The fond for this sauce is the star of the show, and the result is a little more like a melted butter lemon sauce that looks like this: http://www.mygourmetconnection.com/recipes/main-courses/fish-shellfish/seared-scallops-lemon-garlic-pan-sauce.php
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby Green Tide » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:37 pm

Dam, I have eaten scallops that looked allot worse than that
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby krash » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:04 am

I had some really good, but expensive, Stone Crab Claws last night at a nice little out of the way place on S. Beach called Joe's.
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:25 am

krash wrote:I had some really good, but expensive, Stone Crab Claws last night at a nice little out of the way place on S. Beach called Joe's.


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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:18 am

Resurrecting this because I want to so deal with it 8)

Since posting this thread I tried another species that most would consider inedible: bonita.

That's bonita (aka false albacore), not to be confused with bonito (haven't caught one of these yet). If you want to see the difference, check these photos https://journal.amberjack.com/2016/09/false-albacore-vs-bonito-whats-the-difference/.

First attempt was pan-seared and prepared along the lines of the recipe I posted here a few years ago. Result was actually pretty good. Not exactly restaurant-grade sushi tuna, but perfectly acceptable.

Second attempt I tried a ginger soy marinade and that was an abject failure, but to be fair I can't say how much of that was the fish because I royally botched the marinade :pukel:

I also caught some pretty good sized white and black margates. The people I fished with told me they were inedible so I tossed them, but after looking around online I'm not so sure they were right :scratch: I don't like keeping fish just to experiment unless I know there's at least a small chance they may be edible, and I didn't know otherwise at the time. Any of you guys want to weigh in on this?

:chef: Finally, here's a super simple recipe many of you likely already know. I did this with blue runner, which spent the previous night soaking in buttermilk. :chef:

Mix Dijon or spicy brown mustard with a little honey (I use a 4- or 5-to-1 ratio since I don't like it too sweet) and a generous amount of lemon juice. Baste fillets (or chicken or pork). Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Toss on grill.

So far my list of edible "inedible" fish is:
  1. Blue Runner - quite good. Not one I'd target, but one I'm happy to keep. Cut the bloodline and soak in milk or (preferably) buttermilk.
  2. Bonita- hit and miss and a lot of effort to prepare, so not always worth the effort
  3. Monkfish - not sure if this goes on the list since they sell it in grocery stores. It's ugly as sin though.

Unsure of (heard they may be edible, but nothing first-hand):
  1. Black Margate
  2. White Margate
  3. Amberjack
  4. Toro

Not recommended:
  1. Stone Crab - Yuck. Pack with ice and send to me for proper disposal.
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby fishnfool73 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:17 am

Margate is decent amberjack is good but wormy and toro tastes like iodine. Monkfish is poor mans lobster and is quite good.
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:28 am

fishnfool73 wrote:Margate is decent amberjack is good but wormy and toro tastes like iodine. Monkfish is poor mans lobster and is quite good.

Thank you!

Re: monkfish, I've heard that comparison before. I don't know that I agree it tastes like lobster, but it is indeed quite good. I've only ever caught them in the intracoastal, and then only palm-sized and way too small to keep, so I've only had it purchased from the store. I've wondered how well it would sell if they put its picture on the front of the glass case.

I've heard toro tastes like iodine, but I've also heard that it's only the skin and, if filleted, the iodine smell/flavor goes away.

Any others that should be on the list?
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby fishnfool73 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:45 am

Where are you catching monkfish ? They don't live in Florida. If you're catching them in Florida it's probably oyster crackers aka mother in law fish aka toadfish.
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Re: Dining off the beaten path (with bonus recipe)

Postby MrEnigma » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:37 am

fishnfool73 wrote:Where are you catching monkfish ? They don't live in Florida. If you're catching them in Florida it's probably oyster crackers aka mother in law fish aka toadfish.

Intracoastal, mostly. Looked up toadfish, and I think you're correct. I think it was the "gulf toadfish" variety, since "toadfish" seems to be used for a dozen different species of ugly fish.
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