Capt. Pete Rapps
November fishing in the 10,000 Islands is great for catching Spanish mackerel, and here is a simple recipe that can make you fall in love with this fish for the first time, or all over again.
Many people are turned off by the mention of Spanish mackerel, however, if cleaned and treated correctly at the fillet station, you will be left with some awesome fillets that will impress. Simple and delicate, but able to be paired with so many sides, it’s a perfect way to embrace the flavor of the fish while also making it part of a complete meal.
When you catch the mackerel, get them as cold as possible as quickly as possible. Get them into your cooler and bury them under the ice right away. When you are filleting them, remove the skin. Also, more importantly, take each fillet and cut and remove the dark bloodline completely. This is the strong flavored part of the fillet that many people dislike. Now that the dark bloodline is removed, get those fillets into a plastic bag and bury them in the ice again. Cook the Spanish mackerel that same day for the best results. They are naturally an oily fish that will get a strong flavor even the next day.
This recipe combines Spanish mackerel, grilled and seasoned with homemade garlic butter. You’ll be amazed by the amount of effort you’ll be able to taste, and how this compares to the amount of effort you actually had to put forth! With a prep time of only around 10 to 15 minutes, and an actual cook time of only 10 minutes, you’re working with a 20-25 minute meal with genuine complex flavor.
The first thing you want to do is preheat your grill to medium, and make sure to cook the mackerel on top of foil or a very fine cooking grate in order to avoid leaving your fish behind. Whileyour grill is heating up, you’ll be preparing your garlic butter. This consists of a simple smashing and melting process. First, take 2-3 cloves of garlic and really smash the garlic to release the oils and flavor. Melt 4 ounces of butter, and add in the garlic once the butter is nice and completely melted.
Take about 4 mackerel fillets and make 3 deep cuts on each side of each fish, and give them a bit of seasoning treatment with a few pinches of Captain Rapps’ Marco Rico Seasoning, or a pinch of salt and pepper. After they’ve been cut and seasoned, place them on the grill and allow them to cook on the medium heat for around 2 to 3 minutes. Once the time is up, flip them over and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely to ensure the fish doesn’t burn.
Once the fish is cooked, take a brush and brush on the garlic butter delicately, allowing the butter to really get into the flesh of the fish. Around 2 tablespoons per fish is recommended, but the amount you use really depends on your taste. Once buttered, squeeze a bit of lime on each fish, and you’re ready to eat!
Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year-round, expert-guided, light-tackle, near-shore, and backwater fishing trips in the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades National Park out of Goodland, Everglades City, and Chokoloskee, and spring-time Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch fleet offers family-friendly charters that are fun for men, women, and children of all ages – from first-timers to experienced anglers. With our team’s years of experience, vast knowledge of the area, and easygoing demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day on the water. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for booking information, videos, recipes, and more (don’t miss his world-class seafood seasonings!) at www.CaptainRapps.com.