Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blackened Fish Tale Ends with Delicious Twist

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blackened Fish Tale Ends with Delicious Twist

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union staff writer

I know people think I must make this stuff up, but this really happened.

The other night I was at home content to make a simple bowl of soup for dinner as my wife was out of town on business. But that soup was going to stay in the can.

My neighbor Teisha Othmer came over with exciting news -- her husband, John, had caught a large red bass. The two had taken the day off and ventured over to Huguenot Park. Using live shrimp as bait, John brought in a trophy.

The street's resident chef, John Doyle, had cleaned it, and we were going to have dinner at 7 that night at his house.

Unprepared for a social gathering, I asked what I could bring and I was told to bring nothing. Other folks, in on the fish tale before me, had already prepared rice and green beans and even two desserts. I reverted to my old bachelor days of being Manny the Moocher and just showed up with a bottle of wine.

The fish was a whopper. The picture of the proud fisherman showed a catch worthy of our Sunday Outdoors page.

Once over at Doyle's, I saw a platter of fish fillets. They were huge chunks of meat so fresh that the flesh glistened.

"So, how are you going to cook 'em, John?" I asked Doyle.

"I'm going to blacken them on the grill," he said, going about preparing for the chore.

My heart sank.

Don't get me wrong. I often order fish blackened. But I am often disappointed. Instead of a bright seasoning with a bit of tang, what is most often served is a blacktop-encrusted chunk of fish with so much pepper seasoning that my tongue feels as if it spent a minute or so on the griddle.

The thought of seeing this beautiful fish destined for that fate had me scrambling for a diplomatic way to ask John to simply saute mine in olive oil with a delicate sprinkling of herbs. …

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