I love living on the Gulf Coast, and like many locals and tourists I have a great fondness for seafood. From Apalachicola oysters, shrimp in the Gulf and bay, to Florida lobsters and scallops; we are so fortunate to have these fruits of the sea available to us.
With the abundance of fruits de mer, it is no secret that our local chefs have found inspiration for creating some of the most delectable dishes imaginable.
Recently, I dined at Fish out of Water in WaterColor Inn & Resort, where Chef de Cuisine Lawrence Klang prepared a tasting menu.
I was seated facing the southern exposure of the magnificent dining room to soak in the beautiful sunset as I sipped on an evening aperitif.
The dinner began with a Whitaker’s Farm local arugula salad, garnished with toasted pepitas, and was finished with a yogurt based tupelo honey dressing. All components complimented each other nicely. Next, was an adaptation of tuna ceviche beautifully presented in a watermelon broth with micro greens and topped with lemon foam essence. The nose of the citrus was clean and refreshing, this was an enjoyable course.
Normally not a fan of swordfish as it often tends to be overcooked, this presentation of a swordfish steak sat upon a bed of blistered tomatoes and corn pudding, topped with local herbs. I was pleasantly surprised at how moist and rich the fish was, and told Chef Klang how much I appreciated his thoughtfully prepared dish.
The finale’ was a peaches and cream dessert infused with rosemary, and dripping with flavor. It was the perfect ending to a magical meal.
Chef Klang had big shoes to fill when Chef Phillip Krajeck departed earlier this year, but Klang slid right in and is the perfect fit for this award winning fine dining restaurant.
Fish Out of Water is located beachside at the WaterColor Inn & Resort.
Fish Out Of Water has a new sunset deck allowing guests to view the natural surroundings while also enjoying appetizers and drink specials Tuesday through Sunday, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling 850-534-5050, or by emailing the concierge at email@example.com.
Notes: Choosing the right fish for home preparation can be tricky, so here are few helpful hints to guide you.
How to Pick and Cook Fresh Fish
Selecting the fish
- The smell should be salty, like the sea and shouldn’t be too strong.
- The skin should be slippery or slimy, its natural state in the ocean.
- The eyes should be shiny black and prominent.
- When choosing prawns, the head should be firm and attached to the body.
- In most cases, the darker the fish the better. If it lightens it shows signs of age.
Top cooking tips
- Keep it raw and salt lightly.
- Cook for as little time as possible.
- If you fry the fish, do so in extra virgin olive oil, which cooks the quickest, sealing in the flavors.
- Use ingredients which complement the fish. In general, all herbs such as thyme, basil, parsley, and sage are all fantastic when used with fish, as they don’t overpower it. Garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chili used sparingly are great too.