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Fresh Gulf Redfish and I’m back in black!

081Dear Internet,

I’m sorry for disappearing so abruptly.  I just came home from Utah and then, well, life did what it seems to have a way of doing and straight took me out of the game.  Seriously you don’t want details, but I had some surgery and much to my dismay, it took just frankly took a truckload more to recover than I was expecting.  So, I’ve been out of the kitchen and off my feet.  It’s so nearly offensive when your body just fails you that often we find ourselves, or at least my family does, just plain hiding and sulking in a corner.  Or maybe not in a corner, but just unable to deliver your usual exuberance and zest for life.

But.  I’m happy to announce again, I’m back y’all.  And the kids return to preschool in a week so hopefully our lives will resume a semblance of normalcy.  I’ve missed you and I’ve missed my kitchen.

I like to fancy myself one of the old school members of our community.  You’re ailing, well the beach cures all.  Get thyself to the ocean, and HEAL.  Luckily the stars aligned and I had a beach vacation setup with my sweet family.  Loving husband could happily reside on a beach, in the surf each and every day, with just his fishing rod, swim shorts, some fresh shrimp for bait, and endless amounts of time.  So he did what he does best, one of the many things anyway, and caught dinner for us.  It wasn’t the year of the pompano, and I was off my a-game and didn’t have my proper spices, but it was still a fabulous dinner.  And it was fresh caught, ours, and didn’t cost $300.

002Sweet husband will probably kick me for posting this photo of him with fish – but you have to see it in action to appreciate.  And when I say appreciate, I mean appreciate like the four exuberant toddlers who couldn’t wait to touch this fish.  Tiny pixie, aka junior fisherman in training seen in the corner of said photo, couldn’t have been more excited about this catch.  I’m pretty sure she informed all of Watercolor [1] about daddy’s catch.  In fact, when said fish was caught, She was the deciding factor.  Sweet husband asked her if he should release it or if she wanted to eat it, and well – she was firm in her decision.  I’m raising a baby who loves food as much as her mama.

The rice pictured was all mine as well, but we had some miscommunication on the grocery list, not once but twice!  And wild rice it was.  I’m hear to tell you, Internet, Uncle Ben’s wild rice [2], still tastes like Uncle Ben’s even if you leave out the seasoning packet.  But thank you Daddy for making that second trip to the grocery, I’m sorry you were mislead.  If the stars had aligned properly, here’s the recipe on how I would have made it – but please note – your rice will look different if you make it with long grain white rice versus a wild grain mixture.

If you haven’t been to the Destin/Seaside/Florida panhandle area, here’s what you’ve been missing.  ALOT.  008

Destin is my childhood.  It’s my sweetest memories, my most beautiful place, the place that makes me whole.  That’s my entourage in the photo,  *I* don’t do swimsuit photos!  But they’re all so cute how can you resist?

Oh yes, and our local Publix grocery didn’t carry my blackened seasoning of choice – Cajun’s Choice [3] – I used the Old Bay [4] plus Blackened Seasoning.  Cajun’s Choice is SPICY!  Old Bay is “seasoned”,  as my mother would say, not *hot* but flavorful.  Also, sweet husband wanted a point made that though catching the giant fish is much more fun, smaller fish are much much more tender and flavorful.

Blackened Redfish

5 lbs redfish fillets – I’m totally guessing here – it was a huge fish upwards of 20lbs, trimmed and cleaned heartily and fed 8 adults easily with leftovers

Blackened Seasoning

Kosher Salt

Olive oil

Clean and fillet fish or purchase that way from your fishmonger, (I like Rex [5].)  Drizzle with olive oil, rub olive oil evenly with your hand, then sprinkle with blackened seasoning and kosher salt.  Grill on medium heat for about 8 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fish.  I watch it until the edges are totally opaque, then flip.

Spanish Style Rice

1 and 3/4 c. Long Grain White Rice * see notes above

3/4 of white onion finely diced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 c. chicken stock

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add rice and onion, cook 6 minutes, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.  In a separate sauce pan, heat chicken stock to a boil, add tomatoes, then rice mixture.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook 30 minutes.  Test for texture and seasoning, adjust cooking time and salt/pepper as necessary.