We had a few firsts in the Weston household this weekend. My husband Evan went out fishing with his buddies and with some good tutelage from a local guide, he caught his first snook. Ok, if you are at all like me (not exactly capable of winning the angler of the year award) you are probably wondering- what’s a snook? According to the “definitive snook fishing site”, ‘the common snook, or centropomus undecimalis, is a gamefish generally found along the lower east and west coasts of Florida and throughout Central America. Most snook caught fall between 18 and 30 inches, but large specimens have pushed well beyond the 52-inch mark and weighed in at over 50 pounds.’ ” So, it looks like Evan’s snook at 33 inches and about 12 pounds, was a real nice catch. Well done, my love.
The second first was that I got the distinct honor and pleasure of preparing my first snook. I assumed (with no prior knowledge!) that snook was a lot like grouper (white, somewhat flaky fish that loves a good grill). Naturally, I solicited a consult from my good friend, Christi (you all know her as Christine from My Plate or Yours). I wanted to replicate the absolutely divine smoked grouper dip from Seafood-2-Go, which we have devoured on several occasions in Apalachicola, Florida and recently here in Palm Harbor. Upon reflection, we agreed that the key ingredient which made that dip so special was finely minced jalapeno pepper. No sooner than five minutes after the e-mail consult concluded, Christi’s husband called and enthusiastically and quite adamantly told me that snook is the best eating fish there is. Just a little lemon, salt and pepper and you will have the nectar of the gods.
So I got to thinking. We were having some friends (including Evan’s fishing buddies) over for cocktails and hor d’oeuvres before attending a local theatrical event. Why not grill one of the snook fillets and make some fish tacos. Mmm…smoked snook dip; fish tacos and fresh guacamole. It would make for a perfect beginning to a wonderful evening. A few short hours later, I had smoked ½ of a fillet of snook in a make shift smoker (cheapo Webber charcoal grill with hickory wood chips inside)
I do have to tell you that I am feeling a bit guilty about this post as this blog was originally conceived to honor the family traditions that are passed down through the generations. But upon reflection, traditions can be years in the making or they can start today-new and fresh but still something that bears remembering. And often, traditions celebrated among good friends, become lasting memories and serve as comfort when the waters get a little rough and life seems a bit too complicated.
This post is being submitted to the Weekend Cookbook Challenge 16-Something New. Thanks Sara for compiling these entries and I look forward to the roundup shortly after May 12.
½ snook fillet, smoked
Mayonnaise , salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice- all to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
Ronnie’s notes: This is one of those recipes where the quantity of seasoning is totally according to your own taste. How much of a kick; how salty-its all up to you. Try it and decide for yourself!