You know what I did for the first time EVER? Snorkel. Wow, it was so amazing. We were in the Florida Keys, at John Pennekamp, which is a national underwater park. I felt like I was looking at a man-made underwater aquarium because everything looked so perfect. Nature at its finest. I wish I had an underwater camera with me.
On the next day, my husband had the opportunity to fish and caught these absolutely beautiful fish called yellowtail snapper. Our Floridian hosts filleted the fish and cooked them up with a mango-based salsa (mango, hot peppers, red onion, honey, tequila, and sweet/sour sauce to taste) and also fried some up in a simple nugget form. Boy, was it good! Nothing like fresh fish. No smell at all. Just amazing.
Here's their catch:
Notice the eyeball. Want to know if a fish is fresh? It's all in the eyes....the eyeball must NOT be sunken in!!
Below, the fish are shown before they filleting. From what I'm told they were much more vibrant in color fresh out of the sea. I didn't have much time for photos and the Florida sun was hot hot hot.
During our visit, we also went to dinner with another Floridian couple who catch lobsters each year. Florida has a mini-lobster season, which is a 2-day window that kicks off just before regular season and allows recreational fishermen to catch lobsters before the commercial fisherman begin casting their traps.
I love all things lobster.
For years, I've been trying to make a good lobster mac-n-cheese. This version was very good, but curiously enough, I found it was much better the day after it was made. It seemed that the flavors just married together more and the taste of the lobster became more prominent. My husband wasn't crazy about the tomato flavor in this recipe and so I listed it as an optional ingredient for those purists out there.
I used Gruyere cheese, which is quite decadent, but I might try Fontina cheese next time or maybe a combination of both along with the cheddar cheese. I think a small splash of sherry would be wonderful as well (not listed as an ingredient).
Recipe slightly adapted from The Neely's, Food Network
Lobster Mac N Cheese
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 1 pound (680.39 g) lobster meat 1 pound meat = ~four medium sized (6 to 7 oz) tails, up to 1.5 pounds per 8 ounce pasta
- 4 cups (470 g) cooked pasta 4 cups cooked = 8 ounces dried pasta; recommended varieties include cavatappi, cellentani, or medium shells
- 1 cup (227 g) goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons (10 g) parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup (50 g) Asiago cheese shredded
- ½ cup (108 g) breadcrumbs
- 2 cups (476 g) heavy cream
- parsley optional for garnish
- paprika optional for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- While the oven is heating, place a medium sized saute pan over medium heat, and add butter, lobster, and pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or just until lobster is opaque and cooked through.
- Add the remaining ingredients to pan but hold back the breadcrumbs. Toss or mix to combine over heat until well combined..
- Transfer ingredients to a baking dish, top with bread crumbs. and place in preheated oven.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the top is crisp.
- Garnish with paprika, and fresh chopped parsley if desired and serve immediately.