Adventurous Eating

Preparing meals with fresh-caught seafood can be both satisfying and delicious.

I spend a lot of time with my professional fishing team in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean each spring and summer. Last summer, we ventured over to Bimini for a few days, and I discovered it is the place to get a fresh Conch Salad. 

Imagine a big old shack sitting atop pylons over the aqua blue water while stingrays swim around a literal “island” of stacked conch shells. The people are very friendly and appreciative of their customers. Dining there is so simple, kind of like going back in time. 

When I am in the Keys, I can purchase conch at the local farmer’s market and make my own version of this delicious salad, but that’s not so easy to do in Ocala. So, for this issue, I made Shrimp Ceviche instead. It is loaded with flavor and brilliant colors and is so healthy and delicious.

My Southern Blackfin Tuna Salad is made with tuna caught by our fishing team and canned in the Keys. We find tuna at about 300 to 400 feet deep. Just imagine bringing up 18 to 25 pounds of fish from that depth. Captain Chris cans the tuna with assorted olive oils to give it a unique flavor. Nothing beats a hot day on the water better than an ice-cold tuna wrap for lunch. And it’s so satisfying knowing you caught it and that it was quickly preserved for the future. 

For an entrée, the Baked Alaska Queen or Red Snapper is easy to make and is very tasty. These also are deep-water fish, which you catch from 900 to 1,200 feet below the surface. 

Whatever we are fishing for, it’s always a great day when we’re on the water with family and friends. 

Wherever life leads you this summer, I wish you adventures that give you memories to reflect on for many years to come. OS

Photo courtesy of Jill Paglia
Photo courtesy of Jill Paglia
Photo courtesy of Jill Paglia

Shrimp Ceviche

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
8 ounces fresh lime juice
8 ounces fresh pineapple juice
8 ounces sweet Thai chili sauce
Thinly sliced jalapeño
Tortilla chips
Lime wedges

Boil the shrimp for 3 minutes and then plunge them into an ice bath. > Seed and dice all of the vegetables so they are the same size. > In a large bowl, mix the fruit juices together and add the vegetables and cilantro. > Remove the shrimp from ice bath and either leave them whole or dice them to the size you prefer. > Add the shrimp to the bowl and combine all the ingredients. > Cover and refrigerate. > To serve, divide the ceviche into bowls and top with slices of jalapeño to taste and a squeeze of fresh lime. > Serve the tortilla chips on the side.

Southern Blackfin Tuna Salad

20 ounces freshly canned tuna (or your favorite brand)
1 cup mayonnaise or less, to taste
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons carrot, finely chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 tablespoons scallion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sweet or dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, relish, lemon juice and garlic. > Season to taste with salt and pepper. > Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving (makes great sandwiches or a canape).

Baked Alaska Queen or Red Snapper

2 fish fillets, 1 inch thick, about 8 ounces each
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup scallion, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1⁄4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper 

Cut the fish in half to make four servings. > Mix 1 teaspoon of water and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and brush on both sides of the fish. > Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. > Arrange the fish in a lightly greased 11-by-7-by-1/2-inch baking dish. > Bake uncovered at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. > While the fish is cooking, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of ground red pepper. > Once the fish flakes easily, spoon the sour cream mixture evenly over the top of each piece. > Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. > Bake, uncovered, for an additional three to four minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce is thoroughly heated. > Serve immediately.

Posted in Living, TableTagged

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