A Recipe Mini Series, part 1

The unsung hero of the Louisiana coastal marsh estuary: Sheepshead.

The vast majority of anglers that frequent Louisiana’s southern coastal fisheries often overlook sheepshead. Most anglers typically target spotted seatrout as their favorite delicacy. Some anglers hunt down redfish because they’re head over heels for the infamous Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Blackened Redfish” recipe. Both of these fish are fun to catch and make delicious table fare. However, sheepshead are also a blast to catch! Their shape gives them the ability to fight and swim fast. They also have a slightly different texture and taste, which can turn out more white and flakey than the others. This means you can experiment!

In this mini series blog, we will go on a journey of trying different methods for cooking sheepshead. The very first experiment took me on a path with homemade teriyaki over rice, but that was years ago. We’ll save that recipe for last!

Let’s start with a brunch recipe: Bloody Mary Sheepshead with cheese grits.

The wonderful thing about these recipes: EASY & SIMPLE!

Ingredients:

Salt

Pepper

Your Favorite Bloody Mary Mix

(We used Zing Zang and strongly suggest using one that has plenty of flavor and spice.)

Sheepshead fillet, no skin/scales

Instructions:

Place fillets in a pan or tray. Thoroughly shake your Bloody Mary Mix before pouring over the sheepshead – slowly. Try to allow the meat to absorb some of the mix, and leave just enough to spread along the bottom of pan. No need to drown the fish! (Har Har) Sheepshead seem to naturally absorb other flavors quite well!

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your preference. Keep in mind, your mix should already have spices and pepper. Let the sheepshead marinate for at least 30 minutes, or longer to suite your preference.

Preheat the over for 375°. Place fillets in a small baking pan. Feel free to use foil as a liner for easier cleaning and allowing the fish to retain juices.

Cook on top rack for 8 minutes and place on bottom rack for another 8 minutes, or you can simply cook on the middle rack until desired tenderness is reached.

Serve with your favorite cheese grits or other breakfast items like biscuits. You can even garnish with your favorite Bloody Mary garnishes, such as okra, lime, celery.

Sheepshead are delicious, and they’re extremely fun to catch with light to medium tackle. They can actually put up a decent little fight! Most anglers call them “convicts” for their stripes, but mostly because they steal your bait – they’re common “bait thieves!” Sheepshead crush their food with those crazy human-looking teeth. If you noticed your shrimp has been bitten clean in half, then chances are it was a sheepshead! You’re in the right spot! With the right hook and technique, it’s rather easy to catch this delicacy jokingly called “Bay Snapper” by a few locals.

It’s this Captain’s favorite inshore species to catch and eat!

Tight Lines,

Captain David “Chivo” Alphonso Jr

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