I might have mentioned on Facebook and Twitter the other night how much I had enjoyed the homemade seafood dinner I had made. My friend Shannon who writes Hillbilly Wisdom might have all but begged me to post the recipes on my blog. So enjoy the recipes, and then hop on over to Shannon’s site, which is funny and lighthearted, and thank her for convincing me to post the recipes.
This dinner came about because I was in MAJOR Florida Vacation Withdrawal and needed something to bring back some of those tastes we enjoyed while there. In college I had a really good friend from Jacksonville, Florida. She always INSISTED that she was NOT “Southern” but “East Coast”. This was a big deal for her and a point she would argue until blue in the face if anyone called her on it. My limited experience with Florida at the time was the cultural melting pot of Disney World and the Snowbird Retirement communities in Sarasota where both of my grandparents lived so I never really argued with her. Granted, Jacksonville may be entirely different from Panama City Beach but PCB is decidedly SOUTHERN! Especially when it comes to food. While the food is coastal it is laced with southern charm and Cajun influences. Mac and Cheese, grits and fried sweet potatoes are common southern influenced sides while main dishes often include andouille sausage and Cajun blackening spices. The creamy paired with the spicy with just enough of the sweet tropical thrown in makes for a delectable palette pleasing combination.
Since I hadn’t planned on blogging about this (What was I thinking??) I neglected to take any pictures of the dishes. SO – If any of you make these tasty treats, snap a photo and let me know and I will link it here! Enjoy!
PCB Seafood Supper
Blackend Halibut with Pineapple Salsa
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
1 small onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1 rib of celery, minced
2 red potatoes, chopped in small pieces
4 (6.5 oz) cans of chopped (NOT minced) clams
1 bottle of clam juice
3/4 cup of butter
3/4 cup of flour
1 quart of half and half
salt and peppers
2 Tbs. of Red Wine Vinegar (if you don’t have Red Wine Vinegar – do not substitute)
In a large skillet over medium heat add onion, carrots, celery and potatoes. Drain the 4 cans of clams over the vegetables, reserving the clams to be added later. Add the bottle of clam juice to the pan and additional water as needed to cover the vegetables. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and tender. In a large soup pot (I use a dutch oven) melt the butter, add the flour and whisk until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in the half and half, whisking to incorporate as you go. Pour in the vegetable and clam juice mixture and stir. Put over very low heat and stir constantly as it begins to thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving add the four cans of reserved clams and heat through. They get tough if cooked too long. Add the red wine vinegar, stir and serve. I like to serve mine with oyster crackers.
Here is an AllRecipes Clam Chowder recipe that is not identical but very similar to mine.
4 Jumbo shrimp, peeled with tails left on, per person
Melt 2-3 Tbs. of butter per person in a skillet. Sprinkle shrimp generously with garlic powder and add to melted butter. Cook until pink. It only take a minute or two per side.
2 cups half and half
2 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking (5-minute) grits
3/4 cup (or more) shredded gouda or smoked gouda cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring the half and half and water to boil in a sauce pan. Slowly add grits and whisk constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, stir in gouda and enjoy!
1 Halibut Steak per person
Butter, room temperature
Blackened Seasoning (such as Zatarain’s)
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Smear both sides of fish with the room temperature butter and sprinkle on plenty of Blackened Seasoning. Add to hot skillet. Cook four minutes and then flip the fish. Cook four more minutes and it will be done to perfection. If you use Halibut fillets please adjust your cooking time accordingly.
1/4 of a FRESH Pineapple, diced
1/2 of a small red onion, sliced thin then chopped into small pieces
1 Jalapeno, ribbed, seeded and chopped
Don’t be afraid of the fresh pineapple! The taste and texture is so much more spectacular than canned pineapple. When we buy one we usually plan several meals with which to use it in a week such as Hawaiian Pizzas with ham, pineapple and jalapenos or Chinese Stir-Fry with pineapple added in. Its also great for snacking!
Remove the core section from 1/4 of a fresh pinapple. Dice the pineapple into small, mouth-friendly bits and put in a bowl. Slice and chop 1/2 of a small red onion and add to the bowl. Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalepeno, chop and add to the mix. Chop some fresh cilantro (what ever amount looks good to you), add and toss with the juice of one lime. This can be eaten right away but I like to let mine sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours to let the flavors come together!
I use fresh, not canned and I usually par-boil them and then saute them with a little bacon and a touch of maple syrup. Cook them however your family likes them.
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream has become a favorite in our family since I first made it on the 4th of July in 2008. I originally made it using fresh lavender from our garden and regular cocoa powder. You can see the original recipe here. We still make it that way on occasion but this time decided to make it with Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder instead. To make it I omitted the lavender and substituted Dark Chocolate Cocoa powder for the regular cocoa powder. Let me warn you though…It is VERY good but very sweet and I recommend you only eat HALF the amount you would normally eat!
I hope you enjoy this Panama City Beach inspired coastal menu!