Fruits de Mer

Carteret County Seafood

Carteret County Seafood

One of the things that makes life at the beach so rewarding is that not only do we get to enjoy beautiful scenery but we also get to eat some delicious denizens of the deep.

For years before I moved to the Southern Outer Banks in 2006, I would come back from my coastal visits with coolers of seafood. There would always be fresh, local-caught shrimp and often some fresh flounder. Many Saturday afternoons were spent cleaning and cooking shrimp.

Now that we live here on the shore, I manage to catch a few fish that we get to enjoy usually within hours of catching the fish. Fishing is something that can be done on the spur of the moment from our location.

The first week of July 2012 I was fishing around some  boat docks  in the White Oak River hoping to find a nice flounder for dinner.  I was in my kayak, and the wind was playing havoc with where I wanted the kayak to be in relation to the docks.  I left my anchor in the garage at home since it seemed so calm in our inlet.

Finally I felt what I thought was a serious snag.  It turned out to be a large flounder which threw my hook the first time he came to the surface.

Losing a two to three pound flounder is heart breaking, because they are a challenge to find in the heat of summer.  I actually went back the next day hoping to get another chance at him, but I didn’t even see a jumping mullet that day.

With a few days of losing my flounder, I decided the only way to get one was  to head over to Clyde Phillip’s Seafood between the bridges. Clyde’s is the best place to get fresh seafood in the Swansboro-Emerald Isle area.   I hoped to get enough flounder for our visitors and to bake it for dinner.  I have worked a few months at fine tuning my baked flounder recipe.  It is to the point that I would rather have it than my classic fried flounder.  Anyone who knows flounder is likely surprised at that statement, but both my wife and I agree the baked flounder is better than our delicious fried flounder.

When I walked into Jimmy’s fish house (Clyde’s Phillips), I knew that I was in trouble.  There were almost no fish.  Jimmy, the owner, told me that they had been out of flounder since early in the morning.  There was nothing left on the ice but a few black sea bass.

While I really enjoy black sea bass as long as I don’t have to filet it, I thought I should fall back on something easier to sell to the crowd at home.  I went with a can of lump crab meat, a pound of really nice scallops, and a pound of shrimp.

After cleaning the shrimp, I told the ladies at home that I would cook the shrimp and scallops outside about the time the crab cakes hit the frying pan.

I took my cast iron griddle to sear the scallops in some butter and my seafood/veggie grilling pan for the shrimp.  All went well, and we enjoyed a wonderful plate of mixed seafood that reminded me exactly why I love living here on the Crystal Coast.

If my baked flounder recipe interests you, you will find it along with others like the Sobotta family hush puppy recipe in my our Kindle book, “A Week at the Beach, The 2013 Emerald Isle Travel Guide.” The 155 page guide which costs $4.99 provides everything thing you need for having a classic beach vacation along one of the East coast’s best family-oriented beaches.

You can read the book on any electronic device by using the free Kindle reader software.

The next few months should be a great time to come for a visit. The early July heat wave has broken, and it looks like some fantastic beach weather is on the horizon. We’ve had our rain and are now looking forward to a run of weather as it should be here at the beach.

There are some great places besides the beach to visit here. Those places include the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium and the town of Beaufort which is a great place to walk the docks or enjoy the Maritime Museum.

If you are looking for a special place to lose yourself at the beach, try the Point at Emerald Isle.  Once you get beyond the yellow houses, there are few people.

For more detailed information and pictures, don’t forget my eBook.