We’re at the end of our Florida vacation and we’ve seen a lot of dead fish. Luckily two of them have been delicious! The week before we arrived, it was so cold here that the beech is littered with fishies which got way too chilly. (We even saw them floating next to the alligators in the Everglades – so you KNOW it was cold here.)
But what I really want to tell you about is the delicious fish that were healthily swimming in the morning and ended up on our plate that night. We know they were healthy because our favorite fish market, Paradise Shrimp Company in Marco Island, goes to the docks every morning for the freshest catch.
Scott, the chef/fishmonger at Paradise Shrimp recommended the Florida Pompano. We were excited to give the girls an extra lesson in where their food comes from by purchasing the entire fish to cook. Although those eyeballs staring up at us were a bit daunting, the cooking couldn’t have been easier. Scott instructed us to fill the fish cavity with lemons, then salt and pepper the outside after sprinkling the smooth silvery skin with a slick of olive oil.
We cooked the Pompano at 450 degrees for five minutes per inch. And Scott’s instructions were right on. The fish was tender, super moist but not at all oily and the flavor was incredibly delicate and almost sweet. The girls ate it up, almost right off the thick, jagged bones.
Last night, we cooked an entire yellow-tailed snapper. Same instructions. Same results: Delicious! However, this time, the flavor was different in a good way. The snapper had a stronger fish flavor and was not as moist, but not dry or ‘fishy’. It only needed a little black pepper and Meyer lemon (from our tree out back!) We did need to watch for pin bones for the girls. And my mother-in-law liked it so much, she ate the snapper’s eyeball!! (She’d heard it was a ‘delicacy’ somewhere in the world.) In case you’re curious, she said it tasted fishy and squishy.