Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year! A Fish Fry and Bear's Resolutions

 We stayed home and fried fish for a mixed pod of our girls, (Jr. had to work), boyfriends, and friends. Y'all should'a been here, 'cause I fried way too much fish, not to mention the abundant salads, southern caviar, shrimp, cheese grits, jalapeno hushpuppies, and other assorted tasties. 

... and of course ...homemade Datil Pepper Sauce.

I was able to send guests home with boxes of fish, etc., so nothing went to waste.
The fish we were munching on was Sheepshead that my pal Denny and I caught off Cedar Key.
Unfileted, they look like the fish in the picture below.
 By the way, the Texas parks department asked for permission to use the photo above in a museum display about Jetty Fishing (sheepies love jetties). I don't know if it made the final cut, since I am on this side of the Gulf of Florida, but I appreciate them asking.
 This was my station.
The thing about fried fish is, you really need to eat it while it's hot, so I had to force my too polite guests to start eating while I was frying.
They gave in pretty easily now that I think about it.

After all, it's not like I couldn't nibble as I fried.

I like a light, crunchy cornmeal coating on my fried fish ... no fluffy beer batters or thick coatings.
Yesterday, I just mixed a commercial seafood breader with some straight cornmeal ... about half and half, and then  tossed in a little salt and black pepper.

The fish went from a cold water bath to the breader mix to the hot oil.
 The beautiful glass above is a home-brewed red ale made by my college roommate Dave. Dave and his wife Tami both retired last week and will now be living in their cozy cypress log home in the woods just a little north of here.

Dave is a brewmaster and a brewing judge, so he knows his stuff. This ale was exquisite.
He's got plans for his own microbrewery and this recipe is a winner. I would tell you what he calls it, but I would have to kill you.
(Just kidding about that kill part, but he has a very clever name for this red, which must remain top secret for now.)

So what about New Year's Resolutions?
I don't do them.

Bear does though.

Actually, he has 7 he would like to share with you.

 1. More deep thinking about life, the universe, and everything.
2. More time spent with his grandmother.
3. More soulful looks upward at his grandmother when she is eating.
4. Continue trying to make contact with the subterrestrial beings that inhabit PFHQ.
5. Limit that subterrestrial contact to sniffing and licking, rather than attempts at consumption.
6. Abstain from drinking goldfish water.
7. Get neutered this summer and barcode chipped.

(Okay, the neuter thing was not his idea ... shhhhh)

Happy Newter Year!


tai haku said...

Happy new year FC! That's a really nice sheephead photo and excellent fisherman's photography technique!

I planted your datil seed yesterday - they're gonna spend a little while under lights but I'm hoping to be enjoying that relish by this time next year.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

That is one pretty fish. I have never seen one of those let alone had a bite. Bear sounds like he is going to be Super Dog if he stands by all his resolutions. Happy New Year.

lisa said...

Happy New Year! Fish fry, now that sound good, but I have never heard of sheepshead before and therefore have no idea how it would taste but I know I would like it. I like all kinds of seafood!

edifice rex said...

Yeah, I bet it wasn't his idea! ha! Good idea though.;)
Once again great minds think alike because a light cornmeal coating is the way I like my fish prepared. No need for that thick stuff!
Congrats on the Texas Parks photo! even if they didn't use it! Great photo!

Caroline said...

Fish fry with fresh from the Gulf offerings sounds perfect! Happy 2012!

I believe I will add the abstaining from drinking goldfish water to my list as well, seems good advice.

Best wishes to your chums, Dave and Lisa on their retirement and new home, great way to start the New Year with good friends newly close by.

Suzanne said...

I just love visiting you and seeing a bit of the good life at PFHQ. The food sounds delish! Wishing you and the whole PF family and resident critters a fabulous New Year!

Miz S said...

Beer me, FC! Dag, that brew looks tasty. Bear won't mind the neutering at all. He'll still be a manly dog. Happy New Year to you and your fabulous family.

Anonymous said...

Happy new year to you and your family also. You and your posts make my year nicer. I look forward to seeing what you're up to next.

threecollie said...

Beautiful fish! Smart Bear. Happy New Year from here.

robin andrea said...

Happy New Year! I hope Bear doesn't read this blog. He's not going to be very happy about #7.

PS One of our dear friend bloggers is back to blogging this year. Guess who?

Deb said...

Happy New Year! We are planning to spend more time ice fishing this year, hoping to get some yellow perch or sunfish or crappies. I have been kicking up the home brew efforts here these days, enjoying one right now!

Island Rider said...

Man! That feast would have been worth the drive! You can tell Bear is a Florida dog. No toilet bowl water for him, only the goldfish pond. I wish I could get our dogs to quit drinking out of mine. They prefer it over the horse trough. Summer is going in this year for the female version of neuter. She knows already and is glad. No puppies to ruin her girlish figure!

Floridacracker said...

How funny that you would mention the datils. Just this morning I was making plans to plant the Minorcan seeds you sent me!

They really are striking to be just two toned.
They are sweet and delicious too.

Hey Annie!
Great minds fry alike!

I too will be abstaining from goldfish water, but I do expect a certain amount of Gulf water to go down the hatch.

Thank you for that kind comment! I love that you get a kick out of PF.

Miz S,
Consider yourself beered!
You certainly deserve a pint or two after your 2011 journey!

I will try and not let you down.
Already up to a major project this year!

Thanks! Bear has that wisdom stuff down.

Hey Robin,
LOL! No, I don't think he would want to know what's in store.
I know who you mean, saw his post link at Deb's a little while ago.
That rascal.

Hey Deb,
I'm glad your pond is wet. I was working in mine today, since it is waterless at the moment.
Good luck with the fishing!

Cathy S,
Unlike other dogs we have had, Bear seems to not appreciate toilet water.
He does love goldfish water though. Good for Summer!

Floridacracker said...

Lisa at Greenbow,
Oops, I mixed up my Lisa's in my commenting.
Hey, I think if Bear's will power is as strong as his muscles, he will have no problem holding to those resolutions.

Doug Taron said...

Happy New Year, FC. We may disagree about what color clam chowder should be, but we are in complete agreement about how fried fish should be prepared and consumed. Just back from New England, I have been gorging on great seafood all week.

Floridacracker said...

LOL! We agree it should have lots of clams in it tho!
Glad you had a great trip!

Suwannee Refugee said...

FC, totally agree about the breading on fish. If I wanted breading I'd go to London. But I want fried fish Florida style. The only way I differ from your breading is that I mix cornmeal and flour half and half. You just have to watch you fish because the flour might burn if the oil gets too hot.

Julie Zickefoose said...

That is one beautiful Lab. I vote for a vasectomy.

I would have been hanging around like a black vulture at that fish fry. Yum. We here in Ohio are severely fish-deprived. By the time it gets to Appalachia, it is seriously not worth eating. Sigh. Someday.