Local chefs share tasty fresh-catch Preparations
With fishing season upon us, we reached out to chefs from local restaurants and communities and asked them to share their favorite fish or seafood dishes. Dive in and see how to get your sheepshead perfectly coated in a ginger pecan crust and how to create a lobster dish with just the right amount of sweet and spicy flavors.
Take snapper to the next level with this flavor-packed, pan-sautéed dish, topped with a creamy tomato relish. The fish’s nutty and sweet flavor is intensified with the tangy flavor of the beautiful relish.
Skull Creek Boathouse – Pan-sautéed snapper with quick green tomato relish
1 green tomato
1 yellow bell pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 pinch cayenne
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
Directions  Dice tomato, peppers, and onion and place into pot. Add celery seed, salt, pepper, cayenne, vinegar, and water. Simmer for two minutes.  Dredge snapper in seasoned flour and sauté in hot oil, turning once.  Pour relish over top and serve with desired side dish (spinach, rice, grits, potatoes, pasta).
Let’s get crackin’
This lobster, avocado and mango salad recipe from the culinary team at Berkeley Hall is fancy enough for special occasions or casual enough to wrap in a lettuce leaf for a picnic. The lobster can be substituted with crab, shrimp or even cooked chicken.
Berkeley Hall – Lobster, avocado and mango salad
1 pound lobster meat, cooked
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons red onion, minced
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup red bell pepper, minced
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced with stem and seeds removed
2 avocados, diced 1/2 inch
3 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Directions  Dice the lobster into 1/2 inch pieces.  In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, 1 tablespoon red onion, Tabasco, and salt. Toss with diced lobster pieces and set aside.  In a medium bowl, toss together the mango, bell pepper,1 tablespoon lime juice, and jalapeno and set aside.  In another small bowl, toss together the avocado, 3 tablespoons red onion, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Season with salt and set aside.  Divide the avocado mixture between 4 three-inch round ring molds or biscuit cutters and gently press together. Top with mango mixture and gently press into the ring. Spoon the diced lobster mixture onto the mango and gently press to hold its shape.  Unmold onto the plate and garnish with fresh micro basil, basil oil (recipe below) and sriracha sauce.  Alternatively, spoon avocado mixture into the bottom of a martini glass about one inch deep. Spoon a layer of mango mixture over the avocado. Add the diced lobster over the mango mixture and garnish.
Sweet (lobster) spots
The flavor profile of lobsters change based on where they’re from — some are sweeter than others. Check out the online offerings at Maine Lobster Now, Lobster Gram and Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. Pick up fresh lobster and tails at one of our many area markets (featured on page 55).
Key ingredient: Tabasco Original Red Pepper Sauce
This popular hot sauce offers great contrasting flavor to the sweet mango. Tabasco is made with three simple ingredients (red peppers, salt and distilled vinegar). Since there are no preservatives, the sauce can separate, so always shake before using.
Berkeley Hall – Basil oil
1 cup mild olive oil
2 cups sweet basil leaves, tightly packed
Directions  Put the measured oil in the refrigerator while you prepare the basil.  Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready.  Blanch the basil leaves in the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove quickly with a strainer and dunk in ice water, swishing them around to make sure they are all cold. Remove from water and squeeze gently to remove excess water.  Roughly chop the basil and put into blender. Add oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Blend until the basil is pureed. The mixture will be very frothy.  Let the puree settle for about 30 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined fine strainer, very gently pushing on the solids to extract the oil. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. For the best flavor, let the oil come to room temperature before using.
This recipe from Skull Creek Boathouse combines all the glorious flavors of ginger, pecan and orange. As a bonus, ginger can prevent fishy odors. If you haven’t tried it, a sheepshead’s flesh is firm and moist, making it easy to sear, pan-fry or bake. Dive in and see what this Southern favorite holds.
Key ingredient: Brickyard Point Farms pecans
The best local pecans are grown at this family farm on the banks of the Coosaw River on Lady’s Island. Find its offerings through GrowFood Carolina, a food hub in Charleston that supplies many local restaurants and clubs, including Berkeley Hall, Frankie Bones, Nectar Farm Kitchen, Poseidon, Sea Pines Resort, Skull Creek Boathouse, Skull Creek Dockside and WiseGuys. If you’re looking for a good reason to drive to Lady’s Island, set an appointment to buy pecans at the farm (brickyardpoint.com).
Skull Creek Boathouse – Ginger pecan-crusted sheepshead with orange butter sauce
1 cup Panko or regular bread crumbs
1/4 cup ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups orange juice
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup whole butter, room temperature
Directions  Mix together bread crumbs, ginger, pecans, salt, and pepper to create crust.  Dredge sheepshead in pecan crust. Pat firmly and saute in hot pan with a little oil, flesh side down.  When turning fish, add shallot, thyme, and orange juice. Remove fish and simmer until 3/4 reduced.  Remove from heat and whip with room temperature butter until thick. Pour over fish.
Chef Pascal Vignau of Vineyard Bluffton shared this tasty preparation for flounder. Producing low levels of oil and moisture, flounder has a very delicate texture and somewhat of a sweet flavor, similar to halibut and tilapia, that works well with the crab and sweet onion flavors this recipe calls for.
Vineyard – Crab crusted flounder
2 fresh flounder filets
2 teaspoons butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 medium leeks, finely sliced and washed
1/2 glass white wine
2 teaspoons Old Bay or any dry rub of your choice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup crab meat, fresh if possible
2 teaspoons mustard
3 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup pretzel crumbs
Directions  Preheat oven at medium broiler.  In a large bowl, place mustard, mayonnaise, cilantro, and lemon juice. Carefully fold in the crab meat and pretzel crumbs and place in the refrigerator.  In a large skillet over medium heat, place butter, onion, leek, and seasoning until all are soft – about 10 minutes – and remove from fire.  Cut the flounder into 4 equal portions and place in the skillet on top of all cooked ingredients. Smear the crab mixture carefully and evenly; add wine while bringing to a boil.  Broil for about 15 minutes. Remove and place the fish on a serving platter.  Bring the sauce back to the fire to reduce if necessary and serve on the side. Add any side dish of your choice.