May 2018
Your Next Meal From the Wildside

Reeling in Some Redfish

 

Jason and Cason with a nice redfish they caught.

A six-hour drive does not sound like an ideal way to start a vacation, unless they are the beginning of a father-and-son fishing getaway to Florida. When Jason asked Cason if he wanted to go, it didn’t take long for him to decide. Once his daddy said it was time to go, Cason had his Spiderman suitcase loaded on the truck in minutes and they were off on their next adventure.

This was their second year to make a boys’ trip to Florida, but this time they went to visit Jason’s friend Troy Wilson in Williston, Florida. Troy has a metal fabrication business there, but spends much of his free time fishing in Florida and hunting in Alabama. He specializes in making navigation towers and fishing towers for small and large boats.

Jason and Cason stayed in Williston. The next morning, they drove with Troy to meet Captain Tony Bowling at his house 45 minutes away in Ozello. Bowling takes people fishing, scalloping, bow fishing or just sightseeing on his charter boat.

The four of them stayed out on the water within a two- to three-mile circle until late evening. Cason did pretty well for the long hours they spent fishing. Being on the boat did make him hungrier than usual. He occupied much of his time enjoying snacks from the cooler, but his favorite thing to do was reeling in fish for everyone else. By the end of the day, they had brought in the limit of redfish and speckled trout.

On the second day, Cason got a special treat. Troy took him and Jason for a ride on his airboat. They went to Orange Lake about thirty minutes from Williston and rode for several hours.

Jason said the scenery in that part of Florida is completely different from what you typically see in Alabama.

Hundreds of lily pads were bunched up together in clusters. The flora they saw was striking with countless blooms of many colors. Floating islands with birds and other wildlife were prevalent throughout the lake. Alligators were lying on their nests up on the banks in the marshes.

Cason said baby alligators were clustered together, swimming in the little canals and skittering over the lily pads.

Luckily, alligators don’t like airboats because they make so much noise. None of the gators they saw were interested in getting a closer look at what was on the boat and would quietly dip down under the water if Troy steered the boat near where they lounged.

After two days of fishing and exploring, they made the six-hour drive back home.

Jason cooked the redfish the night after their return. The fish were drizzled with butter, sprinkled with Creole seasoning and placed on the grill. Dinner was ready just a few minutes later.

Sometimes children like the fishing experience more than the cooking and eating part afterward, but Rolley Len and Cason have an appreciation for both. Of course, we believe the more involved they are in bringing home and preparing the family’s next meal, the more likely they are to try a new food or recipe.

 

GREEK REDFISH IN FOIL

2 pounds fresh redfish fillets, cut into approximately 1½-inch pieces (or other fillet of choice)
Salt, to taste
2 (16-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, juices drained
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup Kalamata, pitted and halved
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
1½ Tablespoons small capers, drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup white wine
½-¾ cup olive oil

Heat oven to 375°. In a metal baking pan, place fillets. Season with salt. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except wine and olive oil. Distribute on top of fish. Pour wine and olive oil over. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until fish flakes.

 

REDFISH ON THE HALF SHELL

¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and a little more for brushing
2 redfish fillets, scales still on and pin bones removed
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup minced flat leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat oven to 475°. Lightly oil a large, rimmed baking sheet. Place redfish fillets on baking sheet skin side down. Brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper and season with salt and pepper.

On bottom rack of oven, roast for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

While fish cooks, in a small bowl, mix parsley, garlic and remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Salt and pepper, to taste.

When fish is cooked through, remove from baking sheet and put on a platter. Drizzle olive oil mixture over fish. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

 

REDFISH TACOS

For Sauce
½ lime, juiced
½ cup light sour cream
½ cup light mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro, or to taste

Using food processor or blender, purée ingredients
together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For Fish
2 pounds redfish fillets (or other white fish), cut into 1-inch thick fillets
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup seafood blackening seasoning
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Corn tortillas, heated
Cabbage, shredded
Limes, quartered for serving 

Heat oven to 350°. Heat grill to medium-hot, about 400°.

Coat a cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Place skillet in oven for 10 minutes to heat up. Move to grill. In a flat dish, toss the fish in butter. Use half of blackening seasoning to cover one side. Place seasoning side down in cast-iron skillet and cook for 2 minutes.

While it cooks, coat side of fish facing up with remaining blackening seasoning. Flip fish and cook another 2 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.

Fill tortillas with fish and cabbage. Squeeze fresh lime juice on fish and drizzle with fish taco sauce.

 

REDFISH BITES

1 cup Italian dressing
1 pound redfish (red snapper, trout or tilapia can also be used), cut into 2-inch cubes
½ pound bacon
¼ teaspoon salt
A pinch of pepper, or to taste
¼ cup of favorite barbecue sauce (Cason likes Sweet Baby Ray’s)

In a shallow pan or plastic bag, pour dressing. Add fish. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat grill to low-medium heat, or oven on low-medium broil.

Remove fish from marinade. Salt and pepper fish evenly. Slice bacon into halves or thirds. Wrap bacon around fish. Smooth ends of bacon to make it stick and stay together.

If using oven, line a cookie sheet with foil. Place fish on cookie sheet. Place on rack at least 4-5 inches below the broiler. If using grill, secure wrapped bacon with toothpicks that have been soaked in water for 10 minutes. Place fish bites directly on grill.

Cook in oven or on grill for 5 minutes, flipping once. Brush with the barbecue sauce and cook for additional 3-5 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and bacon is browned.

 

CANDY TROUT

¼ cup honey
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 trout fillets (salmon can also be used)
1/3 cup light brown sugar

Heat oven to 350°. In food processor or blender, combine honey, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until well mixed, to consistency of whipped butter. Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place fillets in dish. Brush all of honey sauce on fillets. Sprinkle brown sugar to cover the fish fillets. Bake until fillets are golden brown and sugar has caramelized, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Christy Kirk is a freelance writer who lives in Little Texas.