An abundance of great seafood is a lot closer than you think. So many fishermen go out and spend boat loads of money on rods, reels, boats with all the bells and whistles and often come home with out much of a catch. That’s why they call it fishing and don’t call it catching. There is no worse feeling than being skunked! Believe me, I know. It has happened to me more than a few times.

While you’re cruising around the Keys you will see many people fishing the shore line. You will see people fishing off bridges, sea walls, piers, and random culverts that pass threw the islands. Many times you wonder if they actually catch anything. You better believe they do! They catch a variety of snapper – like gray and lane snapper, grunts, groupers, and the occasional wassa or jewfish.

As a boy, my friend Ivan and I would fish from the seawall across from the car dealership on N. Roosevelt Blvd. We would buy some frozen heron and squid and fish from the shore line. Fishing strictly with a Cuban line, you might know it as a yoyo.

I remember on one occasion, Ivan and I were fishing late at night when it started to rain. So I said, “Ivan I think it’s starting to rain”. When I said that he began to laugh hysterically as he was swing the line from his yoyo around about to cast his line and bait juice was flying all over me. We still get a laugh out of that. None the less, we always had a few fish to take home and fry.

Fish and Grits


  • 1 snapper
  • 1 cup flour and 1 cup corn starch mixed together and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 3 cups Peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Any type of snapper or grunt is great for this dish. Make sure to clean your fish well, gut and de-gill your fish. By scraping the fish with a fork you can descale the snapper. After your fish is scaled give it a rinse and wash loose scales away. If you visit a fish market to purchase your fish you can have them clean it for you. Ask for it gutted and descaled.

Score your snapper by making cuts just through the skin.
Season your snapper heavily with salt and pepper.
Dredge in a mixture of 50% flour and 50% corn starch.
Deep fry the dredged fish at 325 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes depending on size of the fish.
Plate it up with cheese grits and enjoy from the cheeks to the crispy crunch of the tail.
Make sure you are careful that you don’t swallow a bone. Hope you enjoy!

Cheese Grits:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup instant grits
  • ½ cup Machego cheese (or your favorite cheese)
  • Whole butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size pot bring the chicken stock and heavy cream to a boil.
Add grits and stir.
Turn heat on range down to medium high heat and let the grits simmer for about 5 minutes.
Finish by stirring in cheese and butter. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. If grits become too thick add chicken stock and stir until desired consistency.

Author: Chef Martin Liz