As the end of the summer nears and the weather begins to cool down it’s always a nice change. Not that the summer isn’t enjoyable but it’s a nice break from the brutal heat. It is also the sign of a new season. In December, January, and February we begin to see more wahoo, bonita, sailfish, blackfin tuna, and skipjack tuna. They are all found out on the wrecks and in the blue water.
On the patch reefs you find that varieties of snapper; mutton, yellowtail, and lane are plentiful. Grouper also come in with the cooler weather but due to our fishing regulations, they are restricted from harvest until the end of April.
All the varieties of snapper make amazing meals. Growing up in my household it was often descaled, scored, salted and fried whole. Simply delicious! It looked like it was staring you right in the face but for some reason as a child it never bothered me. It was actually exciting to see it in the fryer. It has a nice crunchy exterior and a delicate moist flesh with a hint of fresh Key Lime juice squeezed over it. The best part we saved for last; the crispy, crunch of the tail! Oh goodness, I’m smiling just thinking about it! The whole fried snapper was usually served with mom’s black beans over white rice, a side of sweet plantains and fresh key lime off the key lime tree in our yard.
After joining the culinary field I grew to love tuna. No, not the stuff you buy in a can but the beautiful deep burgundy fresh blackfin and skipjack tuna. These species are native to the Florida Keys. There are many ways to prepare fresh tuna and I often enjoy experimenting with new flavors. I love to serve it seared rare or simply raw as in tartar. When preparing, I tend to look for what’s in season - fresh, ripe and available. I love to season tuna with fresh ground coriander, chili powder, paprika and even smoked salt is amazing. Typically, sticking with the Asian ingredients is the best way to go.
A black sesame seed seared tuna with a sweet soy reduction and fresh Florida orange is an amazing dish. The salty sweetness of the sauce, the nutty flavor of sesame, and the way tuna melts in your mouth complimented with the acidity of fresh Florida citrus brings it all together for a fantastic appetizer.Black Sesame Seared Tuna with Sweet Soy and Fresh Florida Orange
Put soy sauce and sugar in a pan and reduce by 3/4 and set aside to cool.
Season tuna with salt and pepper and crust with black sesame seeds.
In a very hot pan quickly sear tuna in sesame oil on all sides for about 10 seconds on each side. Peel and slice fresh orange and fan on plate. Thinly slice tuna with a very sharp knife and fan out on top of orange slices. Then drizzle chilled sweet soy reduction over tuna and orange.
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