Basic Bakes

Scott's "Cracker Food" is quickly becoming a favorite among our readership. What started out as a friendship between Mel Berman, myself, and Scott has developed into a rich combination of articles, phone calls that I don't want to finish, and recipes like this one. Where Lefty Kreh and Mark Sosin have become TV celebrities and are -- certainly -- great resources to our wonderful sport, Captain Scott is special to us in ways that you just can't find on Saturday fishing shows. In case you don't know what started us publishing Scott's recipes in this regular column, you'll be surprised to know that prior to his fishing career, he raised his young family as a chef. The guy knows table fare as well as he knows snook behavior.

This recipe really works on any fish, so you can fill in the line where we put Redfish with Snook, Trout, and even Macks, as the recipe can be modified to reduce the fishiness (the result of oily flesh) of those often-unpopular species amazingly. With the vast array of fish we might find in the cooler (like Mangrove Snapper, for example, or TripleTail, or Grouper, you'll never be short of variations on this basis bake.

Ingredients:

  • The Fish you Caught That Day (amount depends on the size of the village you have to feed)
  • Milk
  • White wine
  • Lemon butter (if Trout). Warm butter in a cup in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and add an equal amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Heat a tiny bit more to soften the mixture.
  • Apple Juice (Option 1)
  • Parmesian or favorite grated cheese (Option 2)
  • Cheese Grits (This ingredient is the most important; Scott tells us that without Cheese Grits the meal is no longer considered "Cracker Food").

Preparation:

  • Fillet the fish. For certain species (like a big speckled trout or small mangrove) splitting works too.
  • Soak the fillets in milk overnight. This is a fairly common practice, as it dramatically reduces any fishy flavor -- even in the oilest fish.
  • The next day, drain the fillets. 
  • Preheat your broiler to 400F. If you don't use Fs, we don't know what to tell you. This is a bake; the fact that the heat's coming from above the fish doesn't matter; the overall heat of the oven at 400F. heats the entire flesh, with the top heat adding texture to the coats you're going to do.
  • Brush the fish with the lemon butter. Put it under the hot broiler for five minutes (no more) and pull it out.
  • Sprinkle the fish with White wine and Apple Juice.
  • Back in the broiler for another five-to-six minutes until brown.
  • The second option is to first sprinkly with white wine, then sprinkle generously with the grated cheese. Put the fish back in the broiler for about 4 minutes, take it out, put another sprinkle of cheese on it, then return it till it gets lightly brown.

Enjoy, and think CrackerFood :)

Captain Scott for TheOnlineFisherman.com