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5 Ways to Cook your Catch

5 Delectable Ways to Prepare Your Florida Keys’ Fresh Catch

FL Keys Lobster
Lobster Season in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys, a paradise for anglers and seafood enthusiasts alike, offer an abundant array of delectable catches from the crystal-clear waters that surround the islands. From the succulent sweetness of our lobster to the delicate flakiness of mahi mahi, hogfish, snapper, and the coveted stone crab claws, these coastal treasures inspire culinary creations that will make your taste buds dance. Join us as we delve into the best ways to catch and cook these marvelous creatures, unlocking the secrets of seafood gastronomy in the Florida Keys.

Grilled Florida Lobster Tails: Indulgence with a Smoky Twist (There is a season for these delicious creatures; ensure you know the rules)

Few things capture the essence of Florida Keys’ seafood like a perfectly grilled lobster tail. Begin by twisting the tails off of the lobster once you are back on land. You must then use an antenna to extract the “shoot” in one piece. Once you clean the tail, with a kitchen knife and glove crack the tail in half so that you can see the succulent meat from the lobster tails, leaving the tail intact. Baste the meat with a generous amount of melted butter, fresh garlic, and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Place the tails on a preheated grill over medium-high heat, shell-side down, and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the meat turns opaque and slightly charred. Melt additional butter in a bowl for dipping and pull the meat out of the shell.

The result? Tender, smoky, and utterly irresistible lobster tails that will transport your taste buds to seafood heaven.

Seared Mahi Mahi with Tropical Salsa: A Flavorful Fusion (Catching: Head out on a fishing charter and reel in the vibrant Mahi Mahi.)

Known for its vibrant colors and firm, mildly sweet flesh, Mahi Mahi is a true delight to prepare. Start by seasoning the Mahi Mahi fillets with salt, pepper, and a hint of paprika. Heat a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat and sear the fillets for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. While the fish rests, prepare a tropical salsa by combining diced pineapple, mango, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. Top the seared Mahi Mahi with the fruity salsa, allowing the flavors to meld together. Each bite of this perfectly seared fish, complemented by the refreshing sweetness of the tropical salsa, will transport you to the sunny shores of the Keys.

Hogfish Ceviche: A Refreshing Citrus Delight (Catching: Embark on a snorkeling adventure and spear your own hogfish.)

Hogfish, known for its delicate flavor and tender texture, lends itself perfectly to a zesty and refreshing ceviche. Begin by thinly slicing the hogfish fillets and marinating them in a mixture of freshly squeezed lime and orange juice for about 20 minutes. The citrus juices “cook” the fish, resulting in a tender, slightly opaque texture. Drain the excess liquid and toss the hogfish with diced red onion, jalapeño, ripe tomatoes, cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Allow the flavors to meld in the refrigerator for an hour, then serve the hogfish ceviche with crispy tortilla chips. The combination of the tangy citrus marinade and the delicate sweetness of the hogfish creates a dish that is light, refreshing, and bursting with flavor.

Crispy Snapper with Key Lime Butter Sauce: A Perfect Marriage (Catching: Charter a boat and reel in the vibrant snapper from the azure waters.)

Snapper, with its firm white flesh and mild taste, lends itself beautifully to a preparation that combines crispy textures with tangy flavors. Begin by filleting the snapper and patting the skin dry. Dredge the fillets in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper

Classic Stone Crab Claws: A True Delicacy of the Keys

Stone crab claws are a true delicacy of the Florida Keys, known for their sweet, tender meat and uniquely succulent flavor. When it comes to cooking these prized claws, simplicity is key to allow the natural flavors to shine. Start by gently cracking the claws and carefully removing the meat, being mindful to keep the pieces intact.

For a classic preparation, serve the stone crab claws chilled with a side of tangy mustard sauce. The mustard sauce perfectly complements the sweet and briny meat, adding a delightful contrast of flavors. Simply whisk together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Place the sauce in a small bowl alongside the chilled stone crab claws, and let the exquisite taste of this Florida Keys delicacy take center stage.

The Florida Keys offer an abundance of delectable seafood treasures, from the succulent lobster and Mahi Mahi to the delicate hogfish, snapper, and coveted stone crab claws. Whether you prefer the smoky char of grilled lobster tails or the tangy freshness of a stone crab claw dipped in mustard sauce, these coastal delights are sure to make your taste buds dance with joy. So, embark on a fishing adventure, capture the flavors of the sea, and savor the culinary wonders that the Florida Keys have to offer. Your palate will thank you for the mouthwatering experiences that await in this seafood lover’s paradise.

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Taylor Engel

Florida Native, living in the Florida Keys for over 20 years! Realtor, Property Manager, Animal Lover, & Consultant for Rodan + Fields Skincare!

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