Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seafood, sunsets, and saving our coast

Sorry I  know not much has gone on here at Half Baked for a week or so. Hubs and I have been on vacation. We headed down to the beach for a week of sun and seafood. It was sublime! We love to go to a part of the Florida coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, know as "the forgotten coast". Situated between Mexico Beach  and Carrabella, it's a beautiful part of the coast, with pristine beaches and few people. The open beaches and lack of people allow you to experience the wildlife that you'd never see along the more crowded coastal areas. On one of our previous trips, we went there in early fall and got to witness newly hatched sea turtles being released into the ocean. That was really amazing. We've seen many dolphins, and even got an up close look at a bald eagle as it swooped down and grabbed a fish that had washed up on the shore. That's we love about going this part of the Gulf of Mexico. That and if you've never had fresh wild caught Gulf shrimp or oysters from Apalachicola, you've missed out on some of the world's finest seafood! It's a unique and beautiful part of the Florida coast and the beaches are dog friendly, so we can take the whole fam. It's truly a place to get away from everything, I didn't even have cell phone coverage where we were staying. Now that's a get away!

 Hubs was the one that first wanted to come to this area for vacation. He had flown over it many times and said it looked beautiful. When he found out that he could fish from the beach and we could bring the dog,  he was sold! Pompano is one of the fish that can be caught from the shoreline. They usually run in the spring and fall and like the calm water in this area. Pompano is a delicious white fish. It has a delicate buttery flavor that makes it one of the best fish I've ever eaten. The average size of pompano is only about 2 lbs. Because of it's size and great flavor, pompano usually commands the highest price of any fish caught in America. Did I mention they can be caught from the shore??!!?? Hub's mission each time we go; catch at least 2 pompano before we leave and grill them for dinner. He did catch two this trip and they were fabulous.

We leave them whole and prepare them very simply:
After the fish have been cleaned. You could fillet them but it's really not necessary, once cooked the flesh just comes away from the bones. 
Score the skin on both sides (btw pompano have no scales!)
Rub the each sides with about a tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper
Then place on a hot grill. Charcoal give the fish a really great flavor, but a gas grill works just as well. Grill the fish 8 -12 minutes per side depending on the size of you fish. Add a squeeze of lime and that's it!

 Maisy likes to help with the fishing!

Unfortunately, the BP explosion and oil spill that happened just a few days before our vacation, threatens to destroy this beautiful area. Tourism, fishing, shrimping, and oysters are the main industry in this area. The oil spill could ruin the beaches and kill the much of the wildlife. The fishing industry could be permanently impacted by this catastrophe. All of the local people we talked to are worried that their livelihoods may soon be destroyed. I'm sure all the folks that live along the Gulf of Mexico and make their living from it, feel the same way. I don't know the answer to this problem or how it can be fixed.  I hope that our government and BP will do whatever it takes to clean up this mess and save the coastal areas of the Gulf from permanent devastation and preserve it for future generations.


grace said...

how scenic and lovely! what's more, your pup is ADORABLE. :) the oil spill is indeed a terrible thing, but i'm glad you were able to have a great time regardless!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Beautiful post.
Our 'forgotten beaches' are so beautiful. We hope and pray they stay that way.

Bellini Valli said...

I hope they are able to clean it up and prevent much damage to this stuinning area. Thanks for sharing a piece of your vacation with us.

Lucie said...

Beautiful pictures. The fish look delicious. So awful about the oil spill...Oil is the root of so many awful things it seems! Glad you had a lovely break.

Amber @ Pampered Recipes said...

They really need to do something about that oil spill! I'm a big seafood fan...but prefer mine unleaded!

Beth said...

I love the Gulf Coast, it's really a hidden gem of beautiful beaches and small beachy towns. My family has a house on a stretch of white sandy beach in Alabama right over the Florida state line and I've spent my summers down there since I was a kid -- this oil spill is so unbelievably horrible and it seems crazy to me that we aren't technologically advanced enough to have already fixed it. The fact that it's STILL spilling into the water (and killing precious wildlife every day) is staggering to me. Here's hoping it's cleaned up quickly..

Beth said...

Gorgeous sunset! I'm on the east coast of Florida..we get great sunrises at the beach, but the sunsets are best on your side.
Love your blog!!