Hogfish Tropical Recipe

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Florida Keys & Key West Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Conch RepublicLedesma crowns the simply sautéed catch-of-the-day with special key lime butterbased preparations he calls “toppings.” “We have a master book with about 500 topping recipes,” he says. “Cooking is like music,” he goes on. “There is always a new way to put the notes together.” And his culinary team will put each table’s catch together with up to six different toppings, serving it family-style on a giant platter. Lazy Days Style ranks as the hands down favorite and is upstaged only by the mini loaf of fresh banana bread that starts every meal.

Surrounded by a sea of great food, day in and day out, Ledesma sheepishly confesses that his favorite at-home meal is Hamburger Helper and mashed potatoes. “Pretty much at home I just do the dishes!” he jokes.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


For the tropical sauce
  • 2 sticks butter, divided
  • ½ cup diced papaya
  • ½ cup diced mango
  • ½ cup diced pineapple
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup dry-toasted coconut flakes
  • ½ cup coconut rum
  • ½ cup heavy cream
For the fish fillets
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds hogfish fillets
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
How to Make It
    To make the tropical sauce
  1. Place 4 tablespoons butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add papaya, mango, pineapple, bananas, and coconut and sauté for about 1 minute. Add rum and flambé, stirring constantly until alcohol has burned off. Reduce heat to medium and reduce sauce by half.
  2. Add remaining butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. When all the butter has melted, stir in cream. Simmer until sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover sauté pan, and place on a warming tray or a warm spot on the stove. (If the sauce separates, stir in a teaspoon or so of water.)
  3. To prepare the fish fillets
  4. Whisk eggs in a large shallow dish. Place flour in a separate large shallow dish. Dredge both sides of fish fillets in flour then dip both sides in the egg wash, making sure the entire fillet is covered. Heat margarine or oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat. Place fillets in pan and cook for 5 minutes or until undersides are golden. Gently turn fillets and cook for 5 minutes more.
  5. To plate and serve
  6. Divide hogfish fillets equally among 4 dinner plates. Top each with an equal portion of tropical sauce, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

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