Florida is a paradise for the recreational and professional fisherman because of the bounty of fish and other seafood delicacies our coasts have to offer.
If you’re familiar with the fishing in Florida, you know already what tastes amazing and what doesn’t, but for someone visiting Florida waters for the first time, you might be overwhelmed and unsure which fish tastes better than others.
No worries, because we hope that today’s article will help you to learn more about what fish taste great and should be served on your table if you catch them during your visit to Naples!
It doesn’t matter what species of grouper you catch, this is a must have on your table! Grouper is a local favorite, often served fried in a sandwich, as fried pieces, or blackened on top of a sandwich.
Grouper filets are often great served grilled, baked or broiled with garlic, butter, olive oil, key lime juice, and a touch of parsley!
Once you taste grouper you will see why it’s popular; it has a light, sweet taste, which eats more like lobster or crab rather than fish, and has large flakes.
Our favorite grouper species to eat are Gag, Black Grouper, Red Grouper, Snowy Grouper, Scamp Grouper, and Speckled Grouper.
This is another species of fish that no matter what kind you catch it is going to taste good! Snapper is a popular fish to catch and serve all over the world, but in Florida, the red snapper seems to be the most popular and preferred, especially if you like your fish grilled!
In comparison to grouper, the flesh of snapper tends to be a little more delicate, but it still has a nice, sweet flavor as well when grilled, and can handle aromatic flavors better than grouper, so get creative!
You can serve snapper either whole, which you can bake or grill in the oven stuffed with slices of local oranges, limes and/or lemons, garlic and a sprig of cilantro, or in filets.
For filets, it is better to grill or sauté those after you have marinated them, and then serve them with rice pilaf and beautiful fresh vegetables on the side.
Our favorite snapper species for eating are red snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, and schoolmaster snapper.
Mackerel is a very popular fish primarily in the Mediterranean diet, however it is also well known among those who fish in Florida.
Mackerel tends to be very oily and boney; however it is worth the trouble! If you catch Spanish mackerel, either roast them whole, fry them whole or grill them whole with Mediterranean inspired herbs, spices and sauces.
If you catch king mackerel, you can either roast the filets or the whole fish, smoke them, or grill whole.
Spanish mackerel is also a great addition if you are making Spanish style, Italian style or Southern French style fish soups and stews, and for Asian fish dishes as well.
#4: Dolphin fish
Also known as Mahi Mahi, this is a popular menu item in Florida restaurants. Most restaurants choose to serve this fish in filets grilled, blackened or baked with mashed potatoes, rice, and/or vegetables on the side.
Sometimes, the cooked filets are put on salads or in sandwiches! If you catch dolphin fish, you can serve it in similar ways and don’t be afraid to marinade or put a spice rub on the flesh, because its flavor can handle the extra seasonings without ruining it.
This is a favorite fish for local recreational fishermen, not only because they are fun to catch, but also they taste really, really good!
Most fishermen prefer to filet snook, and either bake, broil or grill it. You can season it with either a marinade or rub but be light on the seasoning because the flesh on this fish has a delicate texture and flavor.
Note that the flesh is a little bit more delicate than most of the fish mentioned here, therefore it falls apart easily once cooked. However, if you like the taste of red snapper, grouper and/or dolphin fish, you will enjoy preparing and eating snook!
Flounder is a popular fish to catch, cook and eat around the world; however you can catch it in Florida. The flesh of flounder, when cooked, is very white, tender, sweet, with small flakes, so it is best to season it simply and not overcook it.
Flounder tastes best either broiled or sautéed with salt, pepper, butter or olive oil and maybe one other spice or herb, and then serve it with rice, potatoes, and/or salad and vegetables.
If Florida were to declare a state fish, or at least come up with a list of state fish, first would probably list grouper and then mullet, or maybe mullet first depending on who you talk to.
Mullet tends to be very oily fish, with firm flesh and great skin, which it is why it is a popular choice for smoking. So, if you can smoke the mullet you catch, do it, and you can transform the finished product either into a spread like most locals do, serve on its own as an appetizer or light dinner, or put it on salads.
Mullet can also be grilled and baked whole, seasoned with a marinade, rub or salt and pepper with aromatics stuffed it in the belly cavity.
It is also good served in fillets, either grilled, baked or broiled, spiced with a citrusy or moderately spice marinade or rub.
This is a popular fish throughout the East Coast, and in other parts in the world. However, it seems to have a special place in the heart of Florida recreational fishermen and women.
If you catch this fish and decide to serve it at your table, it is best to grill, sauté, or broil the filets using a simple marinade made with oil, citrus juices, or maybe white wine or balsamic vinegar.
So, that is our list of some of the best fish you can catch and eat in Florida! Hopefully, you will be able to catch lots of fish during your visit and get to try all of these or at least one of the varieties listed here. Happy fishing!
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