Not only are there seasons for fruits and vegetables but fish and shellfish have seasons also. It is good to know that you can buy locally caught seafood that is in season near where you live or close to it. My local market is located right on the Gulf and the boats come in every day with fresh, seasonal fish. It is a pleasure to shop in such a fine market.
Here is a chart to help you buy in season fish locally.
In my area, the Gulf waters warm up in April. Along with the warm water, a host of fish appear with the temperature increase, such as Cobia, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, Scallops, Flounder, Speckled Trout, Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Amberjack and Hard-Shell Crabs. Here are a few of our favorite fish dinners.
Spinach Pesto is delicious with this fish.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 fresh redfish fillets (or any white fish fillets), ounces each
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Combine the flour, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large shallow plate.
Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels.
Heat the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat until melted.
Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes.
Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
While the second side cooks, sprinkle the fish with the lemon juice and chopped parsley.
Carefully put the fish fillets on warm plates.
Serve the fish topped with Spinach Pesto, recipe below.
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse.
With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.
Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. This sauce freezes well.
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh baby spinach
6 large sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup heavy cream or half & half
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme leaves
In medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat.
Season the scallops with the Italian seasoning.
Sauté the scallops 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and keep warm by covering with a piece of foil.
Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet and add the garlic
When the garlic has softened, add the spinach.
Sauté the spinach until wilted.
Add the grated Parmesan, cream, salt and pepper, mix and heat until the cheese and cream are hot.
Divide the spinach mixture between two serving dishes and top each plate with 3 scallops.
Garnish the scallops with the chopped herbs.
I like to serve the kabobs over linguine dressed with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped basil.
4 metal, bamboo or wooden skewers
1 lb fresh tuna fillet (1 inch thick)—cut into 16 even-sized cubes
1 small zucchini—cut into diagonal slices
Onion slices—cut into 16 even-sized squares
2 bell peppers—cut into 16 even-sized squares
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus lemon wedges for serving)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic—grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Place the tuna cubes, zucchini, onion and bell pepper in a glass baking dish.
Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small measuring cup until well combined.
Pour over the tuna and vegetables in the baking dish.
Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning the mixture halfway through marinating.
Divide the mixture evenly among 4 skewers and reserve the marinade.
Cook the skewers on a hot grill for about 10 minutes until cooked through, turning and brushing regularly with the marinade.
Serve the skewers with lemon wedges.
You really don’t have to eat boring chicken. Try new ways of preparing chicken and serve it with new and different garnishing ingredients.
Dry chicken isn’t appealing. To avoid this:
- Don’t overcook chicken – 155 to 160 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer is perfectly safe.
- Cooking chicken for most of its grilling time over indirect heat keeps it tender and juicy and it does not burn.
When I grill chicken, I always make extra because it is so delicious and there are so many other dishes you can make with the leftovers.
I also add vegetables to the grill, if I am grilling the main dish. Saves lots of time and clean up.
- 2-4 bone-in chicken breasts or 2-4 boneless breasts or/and 2-4 bone-in thighs
- Olive oil
Turn all burners to high and heat the grill with the lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape the grate clean with a grill brush.
Dip a wad of paper towels in oil; holding the wad with tongs, wipe the cooking grate. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burner(s).
Grilling bone-in breasts:
Cook the chicken on all sides over the hot part of the grill until lightly browned and the meat has faint grill marks, 4 to 6 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill, with the thicker side of the breast facing the hot side of the grill.
Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, close the grill and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 145 degrees, about 20 minutes longer.
Move the chicken, bone-side down, to the hot side of the grill and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue to cook until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 – 160 degrees F, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil, for 5 minutes.
Grilling bone-in chicken thighs:
Cook the chicken on all sides over the hot part of grill until lightly browned and the meat has faint grill marks, 3 to 4 minutes. Move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill. Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, close the grill and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 145 degrees, about 20 minutes longer.
Move the chicken, bone-side down, to the hot side of the grill and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue to cook until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 155 – 160 degrees F, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil, for 5 minutes.
Grilling boneless breasts:
Place chicken on the cooler side of the grill, smooth-side down, with the thicker side of the breasts facing the direct heat. Cover with a large piece of aluminum foil, close the grill and cook until the bottom of the chicken just begins to develop light grill marks about 6 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken and rotate it so that the thinner side faces the hot side of the grill. Cover with the foil and continue to cook until the chicken is opaque and firm to touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 140 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes longer.
Move the chicken to the hot side of the grill and cook, without the foil, until dark grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken over and cook until dark grill marks appear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 155 – 160 degrees F, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest, tented with foil, 5 minutes.
With just a change of a sauce, you can create a totally different taste every time. Serve the grilled chicken topped with one of the sauces below.
I made this sauce last week and it was on my blog for Earth Day. (see recipe here)
Creamy Herb Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs that are in season
- 1/2 small shallot, minced
Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, tarragon and shallots to a small bowl and whisk until smooth and emulsified.
Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 2/3 cups ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons all natural hickory liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
In a large saucepan combine all the ingredients and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Let it cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Seasonal Fruit Sauce
I used raspberries because that is what is in season and I had them in my refrigerator. Come summer, peaches would be very good in this sauce. Don’t be afraid to try this sauce, it was delicious on the chicken.
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh raspberries, or any fruit in season (peaches, berries, kiwi, pineapple, etc.)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit is soft. Serve warm over grilled chicken or pork chops.
Stuffed Grilled Zucchini
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped bell pepper
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/4 inch shells. Brush with 2 teaspoons oil; set aside. Chop pulp.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon of oil and saute the zucchini pulp, celery, bell pepper, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft.
Add bread crumbs; cook and stir.Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, seasoning and salt.
Spoon the filling into the zucchini shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Place the zucchini on the cool side of the grill while the chicken is cooking on the hot side.
Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the zucchini are tender and the tops are crispy.
The Earth Day movement, that was started in the 1970′s by John McConnell, has since seen billions take part in planting trees, cleaning up local neighborhoods and pushing government officials to enact more progressive environmental laws. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was instrumental in raising awareness about protecting the environment. On April 22, 1970, rallies were held in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, DC and Los Angeles, as well as, on numerous college campuses across the country.
The mission of Earth Day was formally established by the Earth Society Foundation in 1976. Its mission was:
“Conduct educational programs and seminars and promote research and investigation throughout the world for the purpose of providing data to all individuals and institutions who are joining in the movement to promote and implement the Earth care ethic: namely, that the stewardship and care of earth requires action to produce and use materials and services that help nurture, conserve and recycle, without destructive pollution, the organisms and nutrients of Earth’s web of life. Coordinate or assist the work of like-minded organizations for the purposes of minimizing unnecessary duplication of energies and maximizing the impact and effectiveness of the earth care movement.”
Triggered by Earth Day awareness, the United States government has enacted many environmental programs, such as the Clean Air Act, Water Quality Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, Toxic Substance Control and the Surface Mine and Reclamation Act.
Botanic gardens are natural resources for Earth Day events and their focus varies from being educational to just enjoying nature. Master gardening and children’s programs are a wonderful way to get families involved in gardening. There are bird watching and identification programs at gardens, since the birds are naturally attracted to the large variety of plants and flowers. Zoos also offer educational programs for patrons as a way to connect with nature through the animal world.
Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on our food footprint (the environmental impact related to the production of food). The less processing your food sees the better. Eat locally and fill your market basket with in season produce. Eat local, sustainable fish. Eat less meat but, when you do, eat locally raised, grass-fed meat. Don’t waste food. Look for products that have minimal packaging or packaging and are made from recycled materials or with materials that can be recycled after use.
Grilled Redfish with Spinach Pesto
- 8 oz redfish fillet, cut in half or any fish fillets available in your area
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Spinach Pesto, recipe below
Prepare an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, lighting fresh coals if you are using a charcoal grill. If you are using a gas grill, preheat the grill by turning all burners on to high for about 10 to 15 minutes, then reduce one burner to a medium-high temperature. You may also cook the fish on a greased indoor grill.
Brush the redfish fillets with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Cut a sheet of heavy duty foil large enough to hold the fish and poke a few holes in it. Spray the foil with cooking spray and place the fish on top of the foil. Place the foil on a tray or plate to carry it out to the grill.
Slide the redfish fillets on the foil onto the grill and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes. Top the fish, while on the grill, with Spinach Pesto after 4 minutes of cooking time and continue to grill until the fish is cooked to your liking. My redfish fillets only took 6 minutes to cook, so watch the cooking time carefully.
This sauce is also delicious over grilled chicken.
- 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1’2 teaspoon salt and
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Combine the spinach leaves, pine nuts, lemon juice and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse.
With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add the salt and pepper. Pulse.
Pour into a serving bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.
Green Beans with Toasted Pecans
Pecans are locally grown in my area and fresh thin green beans are now in season where I live.
- 6 ounces blanched green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pecans and toast them. Set aside on a plate.
Heat the oil in the same pan and add the red onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender.
Add the green beans and salt and pepper to taste. Saute the beans until hot. Add the pecans and serve.
Fennel and Potato Casserole
- 2 lbs new or red potatoes, peeled
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
- 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Slice the potatoes as thinly as possible and put them in a large bowl of cold water to keep them from browning.
Cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Slice the fennel crosswise as thinly as possible.
In a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley and garlic.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Without draining the potatoes, use your hands to lift out about one-third of the slices and arrange them in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them slightly. (The water clinging to them will generate steam as they bake.)
Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Sprinkle the potatoes evenly with 1/4 cup of the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Top the potatoes with half of the sliced fennel, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the fennel with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup of the breadcrumb mixture and 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Repeat this layering process, ending with a top layer of potatoes. Season the top layer with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and some more pepper.
Top with the remaining breadcrumb mixture and the final 2 tablespoons oil.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover and continue baking until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.