Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Mangrove Snapper with Toasted Almonds

Eastern Gulf of Mexico

A fishing trip of this type is for a person who is willing to undergo a large financial loss in exchange for a chance of obtaining an unknown quantity of fresh fish. It takes a certain risk profile coupled with the love of fresh fish.

I show up at noon Friday. They search me for alcohol, GPS devices and cell phones prior to boarding. A barge smashes into the drawbridge nearby. The Coast Guard shows up in quantity. They grab the Captain of the tugboat. "Here. Piss in this. Blow in that." A drunken boater also smashes into the bridge attempting to turn around. They grab him too. We have to run down the Inter coastal for an hour to the next drawbridge.

The trip out takes ten hours. At 8 PM, the red fiery tail of the Shuttle appears in the sky 150 miles away. It blasts straight up toward the full moon. Its cranking out some horsepower. We start fishing at 1 AM, fish 19 hours until 8 PM, then make the run back. The day is spent with endlessly tangled lines and snagged bottom. The bunks remind me of the barracks: snores, wheezes, farts and smelly socks.

A big cold front moves though about noon with heavy rain. For the rest of the day the winds are strong and the waves reach 12-15 feet. The anchor winch burns out and they call for volunteers to stand on the bounding bow in the rain and tug on the big anchor rope. The water is beautiful and crystal clear. We see porpoises and big sea turtles during the day. I'm too busy fishing to take pictures.

Many on board are old and grizzled. Almost all of them still smoke for some reason. I watch a near fistfight between two of the younger fishermen that still have an overabundance of testosterone over the ownership of a large Amber jack. "That's my f***ing fish!". I wouldn't eat a Jack on a bet.

I catch a big Black Grouper, two small Porgies and a large Mangrove Snapper. We get back to the dock at 6 AM Sunday morning. Fresh Mangrove Snapper is said to be delicious. We'll see tonight.

I tip the boat crew and tell them, "Goodbye...and thanks for all the fish".

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 snapper fillets, about 6 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped parsley

In a frying pan, toast the almonds over medium heat. Set aside.

Warm the olive oil and butter in the frying pan. Add the snapper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to a warm serving plate and cover loosely with foil.

Add the lemon juice to the pan and whisk to blend with the pan juices. Pour over fillets, add the chopped parsley, and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. I thought the "we" was going to be Mrs phred..I guess not!!!!!