Now that we are deep into winter and I have to schlep through the snow and cold to and from work, I sit here reminiscing of my wonderful vacation to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The sun was always shining, it was a comfortable 75-80 degrees every day, and I was a stones throw to the beach and Atlantic Ocean. Talk about paradise. My husband and I, along with our wonderful family, shared a beach house for a glorious week and a handful of us had the most amazing fishing adventure with Fish Hook Charters: Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters.
Our captain took us out to the Atlantic Ocean on a beautiful vessel fully equipped with fishing poles, coolers, cleaning stations, and of course, bait. When we got far enough out, we were able to cast our lines. Within 2 minutes, no exaggeration, my husband had caught his first mackerel. He was beyond thrilled, but before I could congratulate him, I felt my line pull. This was it! I was reeling in the line as best as I could. It was harder than I thought it would be! Mackerel are quite strong, very fast, and love to jump in and out of the water. I wasn't about to give up though, even if my husband had already caught his second fish. I kept at it and finally I had my first mackerel in the boat. After that first one, it got much easier and next thing we knew after about thirty minutes we had a cooler full of fish. It was exhilarating! We we so proud of ourselves.
Then the captain decided to challenge us, and we went into much deeper waters. We were going to go black bass fishing. This was much harder. Compared to the mackerel which seemed like they wanted to be caught, the bass were very elusive. We ended up only catching four.
In the process though we caught an octopus that everyone said to throw back but I convinced them to keep it. I'm Italian and love braised grilled octopus and by the end of the trip everyone else would too!
We head back to the house with our awesome haul and get to work. We had so many fish that my husband and I decide to divide and conquer. He took half of the mackerel and grilled it with jerk seasonings. I took the other half and pan seared it so the skin would get really crispy. Then I dredged the black bass in flour and shallow fried it. To top it all off, I made a relish with peppers, onions, and corn. It was so simple but the fish really shined. It was a fantastic day!
I wish I could always have freshly caught fish at my disposal. I like to know where my fish comes from and here in Chicago especially in winter, it can be pretty hard to come by. I know for the home cook preparing and cooking fish can be a little daunting. We offer a wonderful Seafood 101 cooking class at The Chopping Block that showcases numerous ways to approach fresh fish.
We are also a pick up location for Hooked on Fish, which is a program that brings sustainable fish to the community on a pay as you go or weekly basis. We offer pick ups Tuesdays at our Lincoln Square location and Thursdays at our Merchandise Mart location. Check out the Hooked on Fish website or inquire within The Chopping Block for more information.