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Culinary Central

Cooking with Florida Seafood

September 26, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Orlando 0 Comments

There is a lot to love about Florida: the tropical climate, the sun and surf, the world-class resorts and attractions, the tangy citrus fruits. But there is another reason to love Florida that it is often overlooked: the seafood. While Florida is rightly known for all of the fun that you can have here when you visit, you should also know that Florida has some of the best seafood that you’ll find on either the East or West coasts.

Finding the Best Product

Unless you’re a commercial fisherman or an avid hobby fisherman, you’ll need to make friends with your local grocers and fish retailers to ensure that you get the freshest fish at the best price. Check out their advertisements and Web sites to see what they have available. Stop by the fish counter to inspect the quality of the seafood. While there here are some things to look for:

  • Strong “fishy smells” – while even properly stored fresh seafood will smell, it shouldn’t be overpowering. If it is, the fish may not be as fresh as it should be
  • Filmy eyes on whole fish – Any fish with the head still intact should have clear eyes. Any film or other discoloration could be a sign of spoilage
  • Out of season – Nearly all commercial fish populations have seasons. Beware any sign that advertises out of season fish as fresh
  • Cleanliness – They may be dealing with butchered and raw seafood, but there is no excuse for a fish retailer to be dirty. Pay attention to how the fish is stored, handled, and packaged

Most retailers do their best to ensure the finest product and sanitary conditions in their establishments, but following these guidelines can help you avoid any accidents.

Seasonal and Great for the Grill

Now that the summertime grilling season is in full swing, there is no better time to enjoy the fresh Florida seafood you’ve found. With the combination of health advantages and great variety, grilled seafood is more popular than ever. And with Florida being surrounded on three sides by water, we’ve got even more variety to choose from. There are over 80 varieties of seafood found off the coast of Florida.

The summer months offer some excellent species of Florida seafood including flounder, red grouper, Spanish mackerel, red snapper, and swordfish. Any of these species along with the plentiful brown shrimp make excellent candidates for grilling. Nearly any seafood restaurant worth its salt will have several them available as a grilled entrée. There’s no reason why your summertime cookouts shouldn’t include them as well.

Grilled Florida Tilapia*

Tilapia is a mild, but flavorful fish that is available fresh year-round. This recipe is an excellent and easy way to start grilling with fresh Florida seafood.

Ingredients

3/4 - cup mayonnaise
1 - teaspoon steak sauce
1 - teaspoon Florida lime juice
2 - tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 - teaspoon fresh dill, minced
4 - large Florida tilapia fillets

Preparation: Mix mayonnaise, steak sauce, lime juice, cheese and dill. Spread generously on both sides of fillets. Place coated fillets on grill and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield
4 servings

Nutritional Value Per Serving
Calories 480, Calories From Fat 340, Total Fat 38g, Saturated Fat 6g, Cholesterol 110mg, Total Carbohydrate 3g, Protein 33g

*From http://www.fl-seafood.com

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