Recipes included here have been fun-time tested and received five Yums out of five. Please let us know how you like them and send us pictures of your results. If you happen to have a variation you find works particularly well and want to share it with us here at Hey Mon Sanibel, we'll taste test it and post the info with credit to you.
But First, Some Words About Fish Prep
Whether it's Captain Peter providing fillets from your day’s catch or you’ve purchased fresh fish from a local market, there are a few things to consider prior to cooking.
We have made it a habit to brine virtually all of our fish whether it's from fresh or salt water. By doing so, we’ve found it doesn’t alter the basic flavor of a given fish. What it does do is add a pleasing level of sweetness and firmness to the fillet.
Here’s all you do. An hour or two in advance of preparing your fish, fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and add one tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of salt. Whisk until these ingredients dissolve into the water. Drop in your fish fillets and let sit in the brine for approximately 15 minutes. Remove, the fillets and lightly pat with a paper towel. Then put the fillets onto some aluminum foil and hold until you are ready to cook. Discard the water.
That’s it. Whether you brine or not let's prepare our fish. We have two Categories (or Groups) for the recipes that follow. The first is “Basic Recipes and Techniques” that take very little prep time and just a few ingredients. The second category is “Advanced Recipes and Techniques” and requires more prep time and ingredients. However, these are still relatively simple to prepare. To many folks it is well worth the time and effort needed to do so. Special Note: For those who like Ceviche, we have an excellent recipe provided by one of our good friends and customers. However, it will take some time and patience to make. But, if you like Ceviche, this will be up there with the best you've ever had.
It’s your choice. Have at it!
BASIC RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES
There are two ways to quickly and easily cook your fish fillets – Frying and Grilling. Let's spend a little more time on these two techniques. (Note: You can also bake, broil, poach or plank grill your fish. However, we’re going to stick with the two basics for right now.)
This is perhaps the easiest and one of the tastiest ways to prepare your fish. All it takes is some coating for the fish and olive oil in a pan. From start to finish, it will only take approximately 10-15 minutes to prepare your coating and cook. Factor whatever additional time is needed to prepare any accompaniments. We like two kinds of coating:
- Store Bought: Right from the food store, we like New Orleans Style Fish Fry Mix from a company called Louisiana Fish Fry Products. It has a little spicy kick to coating which fills the bill. Their products and many like them can be readily found in any grocery store. Just follow their simple instructions for cooking and you’re good to go. We like to serve these fillets with a salad or coleslaw and maybe some dirty rice or beans.
- Your Own Crunchy: The second coating we like for a little more crunchiness is to use Panko Bread Crumbs mixed with Old Bay Seasoning. Again, both of these products are available in most food stores. Make up a “wash” with a little milk and beaten egg. Or, just use liquid egg whites. In a plastic baggie or on a baking sheet mix-up the Panko bread crumbs with a generous portion of Old Bay Seasoning. Drop the fillets into the wash and then coat with the Panko/Old Bay mixture.
With either coating above, heat-up a frying pan with a small amount of olive or canola oil. When ready, simply place the coated fillets into the oil. Depending on the thickness of them, cook for approximately 2 minutes on one side, then gently flip and cook for two minutes on the other side. DO NOT OVERCOOK. You can test for doneness simply by cutting into one fillet. If it's white and flaky, you’re ready to remove all the fillets from the pan.
Set the cooked fillets on a plate or baking sheet that’s covered with a paper towel. This will absorb some of the oil. You can also finish the fillets off with a little salt and pepper to meet your taste preferences. (You may want to even try some lemon pepper.)
Serve the fish along with your accompaniments while everything is hot. Have some wedges of fresh lemon and fish and/or tartar sauce available to add even more flavor. ENJOY!
One final note: Any left over fish can be enjoyed later either cold or reheated on a sandwich, used for Fish Tacos or just by itself.
We’re often asked by our guests to how best grill fish. There are different techniques depending on the amount of time you want to put in. We’ll cover the basics here. With certain types of grilling, the sky’s the limit on what you can create.
For lack of a better description, let's classify grilling fish as either “Straight Up” or “Foil Covered”. Either way, get your grill on medium high and use direct heat.
Note: Regardless of which technique you use, go with brined or non-brined fish.
- Straight Up Grilling: By this we mean either placing your fillets into a fish basket/tray, directly onto your grill grates or on aluminum foil placed over your grill grates. This is the easiest and most straightforward method. Start by lightly rubbing your fillets with olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper and perhaps sprinkle in a little paprika and chili pepper to spice them up.
Place your fillets into a fish basket or onto a fish tray that can be placed right on the grill grates. Or, cover the grill grates with aluminum foil. It is especially important to use these methods if your fillets are thinner. Lightly spray or coat your basket/tray or foil with olive oil. Position the fillets onto the grill, close the lid and cook on one side for approximately two minutes. Open the lid, flip the fish, recover and cook for another 2 minutes. Test a fillet by cutting into it with a fork. If the fish is white and flaky, remove all the fillets from grill, place on a tray and cover with foil to keep them warm. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE FISH. THE FILLETS WILL DRY OUT AND TASTE YUCKY.
Note: If you are cooking fillets that are over an inch thick, lightly coat the fillets in olive oil and place directly over the grill grates. Before doing so. Also, spray or coat the grates with olive oil. Increase your cooking time to account for the thicker fillets. (Approximately 3-4 minutes on the first side, then 2-3 minutes on the other side per each inch of thickness.) Test for flakiness with a fork.
Like with fried fish, serve your grilled fillets with a salad, dirty rice or beans or anything else you might like. Have tartar sauce and lemon wedges available for those who want them.
- Foil Cover Grilling: Here’s where you can let your creativity go to work. What you are going to be doing is essentially steaming your fish and potentially many of your accompaniments as well.
Create a boat out of aluminum foil and leave enough of it to make folded sealed ends and a cover. Spray or lightly coat the bottom of the foil boat with olive oil. If you like potatoes and carrots, thinly slice some up and place these first onto the bottom of the foil boat. Next, place lightly oil coated fish fillets on top of the potatoes and carrots. Place diced onions, garlic, pepper and other spices on top of the fillets. Consider even sprinkling the top of the fillets with teriyaki sauce. Finish with a couple of thin slices of lemon wedges. As we said, be creative. Add any ingredients you might like.
Once done with the above, tightly fold up the aluminum foil sides and top of the boat.
Spray a medium to medium hot grill with olive oil and set the aluminum foil boat containing the fish and all ingredients onto the grill grates. Close the grill cover and cook for 20 minutes. Test the fish and ingredients by unwrapping the top of the boat and penetrating with a fork. The fish should be moist, white and flaky. If more time is needed, recover the boat with foil and cook longer.
When your masterpiece concoction is complete, remove all items from the foil and drizzle with the leftover juices. Serve with any other accompaniments you might like plus a nice baguette for dunking.
Whether Frying or Grilling fish, you’ve got several easy options to generate plenty of oooh’s and ahhh’s around the table.
Now, let's move on to some other great recipes that are out of this world.
Have fun and delicious eating!
ADVANCED RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES
Delicious and easy, this recipe has been a treat for the Rogers' family and friends for many years. We now share it with you.
We were looking for a way to prepare Mackerel to preserve the flavor of the fish but reduce the strong "fish" taste that comes with oily fish. The brining technique explained above is the perfect method to eliminate this taste. The technique and this delicious recipe were created by Chef Barton Seaver.
A recipe given to us by our good friend, Greg Z. This recipe is a wonderful way to utilize mangrove snapper or other light white-fleshed fish. Must be made with the freshest of ingredients and enjoyed sitting on the lanai, dock or out on the boat.
We adapted this recipe to work with the fish we catch. A somewhat unusual and highly tasty combination of flavors accent your fresh catch - or meats such as chicken or pork.
Yep, this is the real thing tested by Captain Peter and friends over the years. Made on the shore over an open fire with just-caught fish. Enjoying the outdoors and knowing you caught the fish makes this taste even better.
A delicious recipe given to Captain Peter by a born and bred Floridian Captain. Make it healthy or make it decadent, it will get you rave reviews from your guests.