Friday, February 3, 2012

Belizean Seafood Extravaganza

Belizean seafood directly from the fisherman here has long been one of the most attractive reasons and motivating factors for my continued passion for the culinary arts. This season has proven even better as my 7 years of networking with the fisherman, becoming their friends, earning their respect by looking at the quality of their seafood and being able to identify the plethora of filet's, even when skinless, has made a great variety of seafood available to me without much searching. I am often the first one called , especially when a not so usual catch is made, simply because I know what to do with it.

Fresh Lobster Tails are on the top of the list for most visitors and we aim to please, so I've been buying tails about 4 times a week in various sizes to offer as many choices for customers as I can. I often list our most popular, simply baked with garlic butter and list sizes from 8 ounces all the way up to a 2 pound lobster tail dinner for 2. Other preparation and combinations round out the lobster offerings such as Lobster Coconut Curry, Cuban Style Lobster with Lime and Cilantro butter served over a pool of black bean coulis or a favorite, Belizean Seafood Combination, featuring a fresh fish of the day, a 6 ounce lobster tail and jumbo wild shrimp all cooked with lemon basil butter and served with pasta al fresco.
Fresh fish has gotten to such a wonderful selection for me this year, with snapper and grouper being the a common fish on most menus, like the above prepared grouper baked with pesto over roasted vegetables, but other fish like the Pelagic Wahoo, Marlin and Tuna has become more common for me as fisherman now know when they catch such delicacies, that I am there to pay a premium price for properly cared for fish of this nature. Indeed I've helped teach the locals how to bleed pelagic deeper water fish as soon as they catch them, to lend a mildness of flavor and texture to these denizens of the deep.
Fresh Marlin pan seared in Sesame oil and topped with a spicy tamarind-ginger peanut sauce, Medium Rare Yellow Eye Jackfish with mango salsa and thick medallions of Wahoo topped with shrimp in champagne sauce now are regulars to a menu that can be compared to one of the Fish Grottos of the East or West coast restaurants of old, when a chef would visit the fish market and buy a variety of fresh fish and prepare it in a variety of ways...go Grotto, that's my Motto!
And let's not forget about the ever plentiful Jumbo shrimp, both locally farmed and wild caught, they help to round out a great Seafood selection and offer the shellfish for our menus when lobster season closes on from February 15th to the 1st of June. At that time, restaurateurs are not allowed to feature lobster on our menus and we need to rely on the shrimp to fill the void. Shrimp Cocktails, scampi, curries, marinara's all lend themselves well to this versatile menu staple.
a new favorite combination is fresh Grouper and shrimp Pomedoro, an herbaceous concoction of pan seared grouper fillet finished with marinara sauce with a splash of heavy cream and a generous amount of fresh chopped basil and oregano from the garden, topped with jumbo shrimp and served over a cheesy polenta, it offers what has become known at the Barracuda Bar and Grill as Mediteribbean's the freshest available ingredients from the Caribbean, prepared with a Mediterranean flair..That's Mediteribbean.....You'd better Belize It!