I write this beneath a window being pounded by squalls of wind and rain from Tropical Storm Fay. In these bunkered down conditions it’s hard to imagine that I spent the weekend in a swim suit bouncing from pool to grill. I also faced another one of my culinary fears: whole fish.
Tucked between the freshwater Everglades and the turquoise Atlantic, Miami is a paradise for fishermen and fish eaters. I’ve been accompanying my father on fishing trips since I could walk, but I tend to stick to rod and reel duty and avoid anything slimy and alive. More often than not we released our catch, but when we did keep a fish for dinner Papi would prep it at the dock and return home with pretty filets as unlike their animal selves as store-bought beef or chicken. At the store on Saturday I found myself eye-to-eye with a beautiful red snapper and decided that it was the perfect day for an honest and simple grilled fish dinner.
I enlisted Papi’s help with scaling and prep, and together we created two beautiful grilled snapper overflowing with lemon and bunches of fragrant thyme and fennel greens. On the side, we grilled the sweet anise flesh of the fennel bulb. The flavors were light and clean and sincere. It tasted like a Provence afternoon.
Though dinner was delicious, it was also bittersweet; Joanna returned to college in St. Louis and this was the first meal since the inception of mumble pie without my sister and blogging partner by my side. Check back for future posts from the heartland!