Gulf of Mexico Basin Facts
Considered part of the Atlantic Ocean via the Florida Straits, the Gulf of Mexico is not an ocean, but a basin, with its deepest point 14,383 ft. at the Sigsbee Deep. One of the strongest ocean currents known is the Gulf Stream, which has its origin within the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf is a world leader for commercial fishing and shrimp and oysters the most popular catch. Also available in the Gulf are: gulf red snapper, grouper, golden tile fish, amberjack, swordfish, cobia, kingfish, four classes of tuna, and of course, blue swimmer crab. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida supply the East Coast of the United States with 70% of that region’s consumption of shucked oysters.
Stumbled upon in 1992 during deep water oil exploration, several pods of Orca whales where discovered off the coast of Alabama, now documented to be 900 strong, these ‘killer whales’ hunt tuna. Venice, Louisiana is one of the largest areas for tuna in the world, with blackfin, yellowfin, bigeye and the famous bluefin all gathering and traveling through the loop currents to feed and breed during certain times of the year.
Steamed Grouper with Bacon Fat Seared Green Apple & Orange Water Vinaigrette (Serves 2)
Source: Mark Musatto, Airline Seafood Mart
Equipment: Bamboo steamer basket, stock pot, sauté pan
Ingredients for the Fish
- 2 ea. 8 ozs. grouper fillets, or any whitefish (some more delicate fish are better with skin on)
- 12 ea. cherry, or cheribus tomatoes, washed & cut in half
- 1 oz. fresh arugula (aka Rocket) lettuce
- 2-3 ozs. fresh mesclun mix (aka mixed greens)
Ingredients for the Vinaigrette
- 2 T. minced shallots
- 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced in 1/4” discs
- 2 Navel oranges
- 2 T. 1/8” diced good quality bacon (easier to handle if firmed up in freezer)
- 2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 T. water
- Salt & pepper
- 2 T. cooking oil
- 3 T. XVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1. Dunk apple discs in lightly salted water. Dry off discs, and cut into 1/4” cubes.
2. Remove 1 tsp of zest from orange. Then remove peel, remove segments from one and reserve and reserve juice from both.
3. On medium high heat bring a heavy bottomed sauté pan to slightly smoking. Drizzle in a smidge of cooking oil and wipe
pan clean with paper towel.
4. Lower heat to medium and add remaining cooking oil and bacon. Slowly and evenly render fat and cook bacon half way
Add dry apple cubes and turn heat to medium high. Spread apple evenly in pan and allow to brown/sear on one side.
Don’t move pan around like a circus clown, that creates steam and omits the possibility for a sear.
5. Sprinkle sugar over apples. Shake pan a couple time and then remove pan from heat and spoon off apples and bacon to a plate,
leaving as much fat in pan as plausible.
6. Add shallots to pan and sauté easy till translucent. Paper towel off any excess fat from apples, bacon and shallots.
7. Add mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt, 12 cranks of black pepper from a grinder, the vinegar, water,
fresh orange juice (water). Stir and allow marinating for 20 minutes. Check flavor, the vinegar and salt should be slightly
more prominent than you might think. If not, add smidge more of each. This is important, because once you add the olive oil…that’s that.
8. Swirl in olive oil and set aside till ready for use.
9. Fill stock pot 1/3 way with warm tap water and bring to boil with, bamboo steamer basket on top.
Whence steam starts moving through basket lid, turn heat down to medium-high. Add fish. Steam for 6-8 minutes.
10. Toss lettuces in bowl with a little vinaigrette, enough to glaze, season with a little pepper and smidge of salt (or not).
11. Arrange a mound of lettuce on plate, as tall as possible. Add raw sliced tomatoes on side. Use fish spatula and gently
remove fish from steamer and place on plate in front of lettuces. Spoon vinaigrette on top of fish, making sure each serving
has orange segments and apple pieces. Enjoy!
Note: To keep fresh cut fruits from browning, using a light salt water solution for fruits is more effective than citric/citrus acid. Salt will not change the flavor profile, will hold oxidation at bay for much longer, and will in most circumstances allow the natural sweetness to emerge.
Texas ‘Shell-Shock’ Style Boiled Shrimp
Source: Mark Musatto, Airline Seafood Mart
Shrimps are sold based on size slots. For example, a 21/25 count equals on average 21-25 shrimp per pound. If the shrimp count has a ‘U’ in front, it means the count is ‘under’ that count. For example, U-10 = 10 to under 10 shrimp per pound.
Brown vs. white shrimp: Brown shrimp are typically found in deeper waters and characteristically have higher iodine levels, giving the shrimp a more distinctive flavor, crunch, and buttery richness than white shrimp. White shrimp are generally a smaller breed than browns, and tend to be softer with a thinner shell.
Tools: 12 qt. stock pot
- 3-5 lbs fresh shrimp, head-on, or shell-on headless brown shrimp.
- 1/2 stick butter, or 2 T. olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into 1” pcs
- 2 heads garlic, cut in half
- 4 stalks celery, washed and cut into 1” segments
- 2 green bell peppers, washed and quartered
- 2 lemons, washed and cut in half
- 1 pound Texas Shell-Shock Shellfish Boil or your favorite shrimp boil spices
- 6-8 ozs Texas Shell-Shock Finishing Sauce (optional)
1. Fill stock pot ¾ way with warm tap water. Bring to simmer, add vegetables and a pinch of salt.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
2. Sprinkle shrimp with a touch of salt and toss. This helps the shrimp to have a slight snap when
biting into them after cooking.
3. Add butter and Shell-Shock Dry Boil or your favorite shrimp boil spices.
Turn heat to high and bring water to boil. Add shrimp, and simmer for 2-4 minutes.
When you think they are close to being fully cooked, pull one shrimp from the pot and crack it open.
If it’s slightly pink in the center, they’re done.
4. Drain shrimp and toss in bowl or small cooler with Texas Shell-Shock Finishing Sauce.
Allow to ‘breathe’ for a few minutes and toss again and Go For It!
Use enough sauce to glaze shrimp, you can ALWAYS add more.
Texas Shell-Shock Remoulade Sauce
Makes 2 cups
- 3-4 salted anchovy fillets, minced
- 1 ½ cups Hellman’s Mayo
- 1 tablespoon rinsed capers, minced
- 1 tablespoon dill pickles, minced
- 1 tablespoon each: curly parsley, fresh cilantro. Finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Texas Shell-Shock Sauce, or to taste
1. Combine with whisk: lemon juice, Shell-Shock sauce, anchovy, capers, pickle.
2. Fold in mayo and freshly chopped herbs. Adjust seasoning and lime juice if necessary.
Cocktail Sauce Shell-Shock Style
Makes 2 cups
- 1 cup chili sauce
- ¾ cup Heinz Ketchup
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 2 teaspoons chili olek sambal
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
1. Blend ingredient well. Chill to meld flavors before serving.