PENSACOLA = SEAFOOD

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Welcome to a new world of seafood!

As “Pensacolian’s” or Gulf Coaster’s, we pride ourselves on having the best seafood on the coast. I was raised on an island in the Caribbean, and it wasn’t as accessible to the local community as it is here. We could catch our own and have the best meal at a restaurant but having a nice market with a wide variety of fresh seafood was not common.

Every Friday, I pick up my kids from school and head to Joe Patti’s. They enjoy their FREE ICE CREAM (offered to all children), and I get a chance to go seafood crazy

Did you know that the average time it takes to cook shellfish is 6 minutes?! 

Don’t be afraid to step into your local seafood markets and buy your favorite items to cook at home!  Also, please go out and support our local businesses at the Pensacola Seafood Festival this weekend. It will be safely outdoors (wear your mask, if possible), and your presence will be appreciated.

I understand that due to COVID-19, many of us might choose to skip the Festival, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be celebrated. Take up the challenge and make your own SEAFOOD FEAST!

Don’t be afraid… I’ve got you covered! To make it easier for you, I will provide a shopping list, several recipes, and some tips. What you will create is not your typical local restaurant concoction, but BETTER!

Shopping List

Seafood Market

  • 2-3 Lbs steamed shrimp
  • 1 Lb *raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 5 large shrimp – head-on
  • 1 Lb *raw calamari rings
  • 1 Lb bay scallops
  • 1 Lb baby octopus
  • 2-3 lbs mussels or steamers (clams)
  • 2 lbs steamed crawfish
  • 1-2 bags fresh oysters

Grocery Store

  • 1 bag yellow onions
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bag colorful bell peppers
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 3 heads of garlic
  • 1 bag lemons
  • 1 fresh bunch: cilantro, curly parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 bottle clam juice
  • 1 can clams in oil
  • Powdered saffron
  • 1-2 box Spaghetti, Linguini, Fettuccini
  • 1 bag short-grain rice (enough for 3 cups)
  • Cocktail sauce, horseradish, tartar sauce

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Recipes

Tapas

Easy Shrimp “Ceviche”

  • Dice/chop 1 large red onion, 2 colorful bell peppers, 2 seeded
    tomatoes
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro. Optional: 2 small avocados, 
    1 seeded jalapeño
  • In a bowl, whisk 2-3 lemons squeezed, 1/4 cup EVOO, 1tsp salt, and 1 tsp sugar which balances the acidity.
  • Add 1lb steamed peeled and deveined shrimp to the dressing, followed by the rest of your ingredients, and toss together. (Your local market will steam your fresh shrimp.)
  • Balance the salt and acidity level to your taste, and you are ready to serve with tortilla chips on the side.

(If you don’t like the strong flavor of onion, microwave it in a bowl with equal parts lemon and water for 3 minutes after dicing. Drain and rinse with water and add it to your ceviche)

Baby Octopus al Ajillo (in garlic oil)

  • Boil 1lb baby octopus for 20 minutes in water with half a bell pepper and 2 whole garlic cloves.
  • Add 2 cups of your best olive oil to a pan, followed by 5 minced garlic cloves.
  • Chop 1 bunch of curly parsley, 5 sprigs of rosemary, 1tbsp fresh thyme, 10 basil leaves. (The amounts don’t need to be exact, and you can use dried herbs if needed)
  • Add the herbs to the pan and set your cooktop to medium. Cook for 3 minutes and turn off before garlic burns.
  • Drain your baby octopus (save the water for a recipe to follow) and add to your pan.
  • Toss all ingredients together, add about a tsp cracked salt and pepper, and serve with french bread on the side. DIP YOUR BREAD IN THE OIL!

Beer-Braised Mussels

  • In a stockpot, crisp 3 chopped slices of bacon.
  • Sauté (10 minutes) 1 large sliced onion, minced garlic cloves on the bacon fat + 1 stick of butter.
  • Add 1 bottle/can lager beer.
  • Add 1 tsp powdered chicken stock, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 small bunch parsley.
  • Let boil for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1-2 lbs mussels or clams + add enough water or baby octopus stock to cover mussels.
  • Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Once the mussels are open, remove them with tongs and place them on a deep serving plate.
  • Cook your liquid for 5 more minutes (until the alcohol evaporates), salt to taste, and pour over mussels. You will need more bread to dip in the sauce!

*Discard any mussels that have opened before cooking.

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Main Course

Paella  (Seafood Rice) & Fideuà a la Kairym (Seafood Pasta)

*Both recipes begin with the same process and ingredients but then reroute to Pasta or Rice.
Phase 1 

  • In a wide/deep pan, dice or slice and sauté (10 minutes) on EVOO or canned mussel oil: 1 large onion, 1-2 red bell peppers, 6 garlic cloves, 1-2 chorizo, or andouille sausage.
  • Sprinkle 2 tsp powdered saffron. (found in the ‘international’ section of your local grocery or home store)
  • Add 1 can/bottle lager beer.
  • Add 2 cup of baby octopus stock or clam juice.
  • Add 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • Add 1 cup of frozen peas.
  • Boil until the alcohol content evaporates and salt to taste.
  • Add 1lb raw shrimp (peeled and deveined), 1lb calamari rings, 1lb mussels, 1lb bay scallops, and 5 large shrimp with the head on. (Crawfish complements this dish too!)
  • Cook for 6 minutes.

Phase 2 for Seafood Pasta
  • 1-2 box spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccini: Boil in water and baby octopus stock/clam juice and drain. (Save some of the water.)
  • Remove your five shrimp with the head on from the seafood stew and toss the pasta in for 5 minutes.
  • Top with your five shrimp, sliced lemons, and 1 small bunch of chopped cilantro or parsley. Use your leftover octopus stock to drizzle on top as needed.
Phase 2: Seafood Rice
  • With tongs, remove the seafood from the stew and set aside. (You don’t want to overcook it.)
  • Add 3 cups of short-grain rice + 3 cups of water/ octopus stock.
  • Stir and salt to taste. (Must be saltier than average as the rice will soak up all the flavor and double in size)
  • Cook on high heat and uncovered until liquid level lowers (evaporates) to the height of the rice.
  • Set your burner to low and cover (tight seal) for 25 minutes.
  • Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Layer your seafood on top of the rice nicely with lemon slices, chopped cilantro, or parsley and sprinkle smoked paprika for color. (Drizzle with the liquid drained from the seafood while resting)
  • Set it in the center of your table and enjoy!

Extra’s 

To enhance the look of your SEAFOOD FEAST, you can serve some raw and/or pre-cooked items such as:

  • 2 dozen *raw oysters: PENSACOLA BAY OYSTERS are the best in town! Shuck them, and layer on top of ice surrounded by lemon slices. You can also grill them, topped with butter and sriracha.
  • 2 lbs crawfish + 2 lbs shrimp: Buy them boiled and plate on a large, iced, serving tray.
  • Shrimp Cocktail (1lb): Buy them pealed/deveined and steamed. Serve in Martini glasses with shrimp cocktail sauce and horseradish.

TIP: Place some small bowls around your table with cocktail sauce, horseradish, tartar sauce, hot sauce, and lemon slices.

*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.

Local Seafood Markets:

Joe Patti’s Seafood: 534 S B Street

Maria’s Fresh Seafood: 631 E. Cervantes Street

Gulf Coast Seafood Market: 701 E Nine Mile Rd

Perdido Bay Seafood: 13506 Perdido Key Dr.

Outa Tha Blue Seafood Market: 2755 Gulf Breeze Pkwy

!Buen Provecho!

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Kairym was born and raised in Puerto Rico and has spent her entire life immersed in different cultures. She is multilingual (Spanish, English, German, basic French) and has lived in 10 different states and countries. After her husband's active duty service, in the Air Force, was completed (2015) they decided to set roots in Pensacola with their two children Juliana (10) and Marco (7). Kairym loves to travel abroad, go to the beach, dance, paddleboard, brunch, cook, and entertain. But, what she loves most is dedicating her time and energy to her husband and kids. She is the CEO of her family and no matter how crazy mom life gets, she always finds time to whip up nice dinners from scratch. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, she has cooked more than 500 decadent meals. You can follow her culinary adventures @frommykitchentotheworld on Facebook or on Instagram at Chateaucruzlischpensacola.

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