Brown Sugar Redfish
We're rapidly approaching prime Redfish time in Florida, and the other day I spent some time on the phone with my friend Gary talking about redfish. I told him a couple of tips you folks might find useful when you're attempting to put a client (or yourself) "in the grocery store" when you find yourself in the big schools of breeders you see in September. When I was younger, I thought it was just lucky if you can find one 27" fish out of 100 out-of-slot females. Until I spent enough hours on a poling platform looking down at them.
Finding what Captain Scott Moore calls "grocery" reds in schools of big breeder females is easier than you might think. This month's Cracker Food tells you how to prepare the sweetest, flakiest, most delicious redfish (or Salmon) you've ever had; another article will tell how how they behave; and where you're likely to find them if you do want some for the table.
Before we talk about the recipe, I need to mention my approach to cooking fish. After years as a professional chef, and enjoying friendships with chefs in my area that I feel are among the best in the world (particularly relative to cooking fish), I feel that the simpler the better. Recipes that need pages of instructions, eighteen ingredients carefully measured in a variety of measuring cups and spoons just don't feel natural to me anymore -- nor do they produce flavor and texture like my simple approach. That's only the opinion of one combination guide/chef.
The recipes you'll find here are recipes that don't require a lot of teaspoons, quarter-cups, or 1.32 milligrams of exotic spices. You'll find that they're simple, quick, and can be made with stuff you're likely to already have in the fridge or closet somewhere. Back to Brown Sugar Redfish...
- Redfish fillets. Scale the fish but do not remove the skin. Filet it after you scale it, leaving the skin on. You're going to baste the skin, and it will dramatically improve the taste of the dish.
- Brown Sugar
- Melted Butter
- Scale the fish, then filet it. Leave the skin on.
- Melt the butter and sugar together. The amount of the ingredients depend on the number of filets. It has to do with my simplicity approach to cooking. The goal here is to make a mixture of the two so you have a thick paste to put on the filets. You will brush them at least twice; more if you want.
- If you use coals and not gas, make sure you start the coals with one of those metal pipes that let you start the coals and get them white without putting lighter fluid on them. Don't believe that lighter fluid taste doesn't effect the fish. It does. Get them white and the grill very hot.
- Clean the grill so it's spotless. I talked about cleaning the grill in another recipe; use a big slice of potato if in doubt; get the grill real hot and use the vegetable to scrub the metal. It cleans a grill unlike any device you'll ever find on late-night TV.
- Baste the meat side.
- Put the fish skin side down onto the burning hot and clean grill.
- Cook for five minutes -- no more. Timing is critical when you're grilling fish.
- Flip the fish. Immediately baste the skin side.
- Cook for 6-8 minutes until flaky; baste it one more time a couple of minutes before you take it off.
- Serve meat-side up. It will be brown and delicious.
Captain Scott for TheOnlineFisherman.com