This was my second experience fishing offshore in Southwest Florida.  Our day began about seven miles out to one of Captain Marc’s favorite spots.  It was nonstop action!  Perfect for everyone including those with a short attention span (like Mac, my seven year old). Every cast resulted in a bite and we landed fish most every time. We caught Lane Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Yellowtail Snapper, King Mackerel  and Red Grouper.

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Oh, and one nuisance bird who hooked himself when he flew off with our bait.  We reeled him in too…..he was quite unhappy but thankfully unharmed.  Needless to say the pesky bird learned his lesson after that incident.   Once we had caught as much fish as we could eat we decided to move on to another spot for something different…shark fishing, something none of us had tried.  Why not?  We chummed and chummed and chummed and chummed and waited and waited, but no dice.   Captain Marc sensed he was losing his crowd, so we moved again for one last try for a really, really big fish.  The Goliath Grouper.  I knew Marc was serious when the big rods came out with big line, big hooks, and big chunks of bait.  There wasn’t any waiting around at this spot.  Immediately something was hitting our bait.  After several false alarms with a crafty, bait stealing dolphin we finally had the “biggun” on.  Captain Marc was every bit as thrilled as we were (sign of a great guide).  He knew it was the Goliath Grouper we were looking for.  It was an exhausting yet exhilarating fight!

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Captain Marc estimated this beast weighed 100lbs!  My arms definitely told me so 🙂

The Goliath Grouper is protected, so we were only able to pull it up to the boat for a quick look and photo op.  What a sight and memorable way to end the day!   If you find yourself in the Naples area I highly recommend calling Captain Marc for a day on the water.

Captain Marc: 239 7774270

www.saltwatermagic.com

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Pan Roasted Grouper with Crab & Sweet Corn Risotto

Ingredients:

4 Grouper fillets

vegetable oil

1/2 cup diced, peeled tomato (seeds removed)

1/3 cup minced shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 T butter, divided

1 cup corn

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup Arborio rice

8 oz. jumbo lump crab meat

Approx. 3 cups warm shrimp stock (recipe follows)

handful of fresh chives, minced

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook corn in saute pan using 1T butter and 3 T water.  Cook until corn is no longer raw but still has a nice crunch.  This should only take a few minutes.  Water should be absorbed. season with s&p.  DO NOT OVERCOOK.  Set aside.

Sweat shallots and garlic in 2 T butter until soft and translucent.  Add rice and turn up heat to medium.  Toast for a couple of minutes while stirring rice to coat with butter.  Add wine and stir until wine is mostly absorbed.  Begin adding shrimp stock about 1/2 cup at a time only adding more stock as it is absorbed.  Continue stirring and keep adding stock until rice is tender with a slight firmness in the middle (this should take around 25 minutes and a few cups of stock).  Add corn, 2 T butter and diced tomato to rice,  Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir, take off heat, cover, and set aside.

Heat last two tablespoons of butter on medium heat with a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Allow to brown slightly (do not let butter burn).  Remove from heat and add lump crab, gently stirring to heat through.  Take care not to break apart crab.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oven safe saute pan on medium high heat.  When hot add enough vegetable oil to coat bottom of pan.  Place seasoned Grouper fillets in the pan and turn heat to medium.  Flip fillets after about two minutes (fish will be nicely caramelized) and place pan in oven for approx. 6 more minutes or until fillets are just cooked through.

Fold chives and half of crab meat into risotto.

To plate:

Place risotto in center of plate.  Top with small amount of crab meat, then the Grouper fillet.  Enjoy!

Quick Shrimp Stock (should make 4-5 cups).  Can be made ahead and frozen or if made day of kept in refrigerator.

1 lb frozen, shell on shrimp (the smaller shrimp will be the least expensive and will work perfectly)

1/2 yellow onion

1 handful fresh thyme

10 black pepper corns

1 bay leaf

Place all ingredients in a pot.  Cover with cold water (enough to just cover shrimp).

 

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