On a visit to the restaurant this morning to drop check-stuffers for Harry’s upcoming Animal Pizzeria, I ordered a chopped salad to bring back to the office for lunch. I forgot to ask for mine just the way I like it, with croutons (we make some of the most addicting ones ever in my opinion – more on our secret later) so I popped into the kitchen to grab some before leaving. Low and behold, chef de cuisine Bradley Herron was cutting fish in his usual spot – but with an unusual specimen. It looked like trout!
“River trout?” I asked, now all curious as to where these slim, hooked-mouth beauties came from.
“Nope. Wild Ocean Seafood trout,” Brad replied. “About 30 pounds came in.”
Is it just me, or have you also only had trout out in the landlocked west? If so, you can try something new and get a taste of trout from the Atlantic tonight with Bradley’s dinner special. I smelled it all the way upstairs in our mezzanine without even knowing it: simply dredged in flour, pan fried in brown butter and finished with lemon and capers. I asked him to describe the fish and how it eats from chefs perspective.
“It eats like a trout,” he continued. “Soft, medium to fine flake, crispy skin. It cooks super quick, skin side down, quick flip and it’s done. I’d drink something clean, like a crisp white with this dish.”
TGK: So I thought trout only came from rivers. Tell me a little about this fish.
CM: I’ve actually only had trout from the sea! Trout can be brackish – meaning a mix of fresh water and sea water – or from the ocean. It’s really exciting actually because they just recently changed the season on sea trout. It used to be a short two months, June to August. Now it is May to September. The research and science says they are booming.
TGK: Who changed the season?
CM: NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association) and FWC (Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.)
TGK: Where and how are you fishing it?
CM: Indian River Lagoon has river water from the St John’s that comes over and creates a fresh water mass that is also open to the ocean and saltwater. It’s a great breeding ground for a wide variety of fish – a very bio diverse area. A lot of my fisherman fish there. They are hook and line with the trout… One guy uses a splash poll which is basically a longer poll, they use bamboo, tied to a line with no reel. Bait is splashed on the water which simulates a wounded fish. When the trout bite, my guy simply lifts the line out of the water to the boat.