I’ve never felt quite so much joy as last night, when I made my wife cry.
But wait, Brad, this story needs a little setup.
One of the great things about having friends and family who live on the Gulf is, when I go to see them or when they come to see me, I can place a little grocery order. Like, for the 10 pounds of shrimp I’m going to ask my mom to bring up with her when she comes to try the whitewater rafting, hopefully later this month. We never leave my old home without at least one cooler packed with fresh seafood and enough ice to get it four hours up the road safely.
Usually it’s shrimp. Easy to freeze.
But we wound up with several pounds of fresh snapper last weekend, so I had to learn to freeze that stuff. (FYI, seal tightly in plastic wrap, seal that tightly in foil, seal that tightly in a freezer bag. At least that’s the theory. Will update when we’ve thawed a bit.)
Of course, I kept a couple of pieces out, while it was fresh. And I noodled around on the interwebs between a few recipes that would use some of the fresh cilantro and lime we had on-hand. Ended up kind of mashing a few recipes like so:
- Mix up some garlic powder, onion powder, ground red pepper, paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper. (I added some herbs de provence, too, but don’t let this stop you.) Rub this dry mix into the skin side of the snapper.
- Chop up some tomatoes (thank you, CSA), cilantro, lime juice and crushed garlic. Mix with a bit of olive oil.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter into a tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat. When it’s good and hot, drop the fish in, skin side down. Reduce the heat to about medium and cook for 4 minutes.
- Flip the fish and cook two more minutes.
- Throw it on a plate and top with that tomato-cilantro-lime dressing.
- Watch your significant other take a tiny bite of the fish, making sure there’s a bit of that crispy-fried skin on the fork. Watch her smile, maybe giggle uncontrollably, then drop a bit of a tear.
I can’t talk. I giggled when I ate it, too. It’s that good. And it’s only the second or third time I’ve ever had that reaction to food. (The most recent this happened was in the wine valleys near Cape Town, South Africa, at the Quartier Francais Tasting Room — what was rightly billed as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Read about that here, if’n you’re curious.)
It’s not local food, maybe. But it’s local-ish. I mean, if people are making that drive anyway, they might as well carry some magic with them, right?