Fish and Shellfish. Order the catch of the day-flaky white Florida snapper, grouper, or sea trout grilled, fried, or sautéed in butter. The more delicate pompano is often prepared en papillote (baked on paper), a procedure that enhances the subtle flavor.
New England scrod often appears on local menus. It’s usually fresh, but it’s not from Florida. Hushpuppies (fried balls of cornmeal and onion) may accompany fried fish and shellfish.
At a deli, have gefilte fish, a mixture of whitefish, egg and matzoh meal, eaten cold or, occasionally, hot. Some restaurants will cook your own catch of the day for you if you clean the fish first. The service charge usually includes all the trimmings.
Fresh jumbo shrimps (and not all shrimps are fresh, even in Florida) usually come from the Gulf. Cold shrimp dishes include shrimp cocktail with red sauce (chili sauce and horse-radish), shrimp salad with mayonnaise dressing and shrimp Louis with hardboiled egg and Russian dressing.
Shrimps are well skewered and grilled, breaded and sautéed with garlic (in which case they’re called scampi), or deep-fried with tartare sauce. If you’re not counting calories, indulge in seafood Newburg, a combination of shrimps, scallops, and lobster in a rich, tomato-flavored cream sauce.
Lobster in Miami may mean the Maine variety (with claws) or spiny lobster, also called crawfish or Florida lobster. The taste and texture of this warm-water crustacean are distinctive-and no less delectable to the initiated. Ask for it boiled with lemon and butter sauce and savor the nut-like flavor to the full.
Oysters and clams are served raw on the half shell, baked or fried. But the big treat is Florida stone crabs, in season from October 15 to April 15. You eat only the claws-one is taken from the crab, which is returned to the water to grow another-hot with lemon and butter or cold with mustard mayonnaise.
Most restaurants crack the shell well with a wooden mallet before serving, so you probably won’t need the battery of implements you’ll be en to extract the sweetmeat. All the same, it can be a messy business, so don’t be surprised if your waiter produces a big paper bib and ties it around your toddler fashion.
Most restaurants that serve seafood propose a cold seafood platter with a selection of stone crab, shrimps, clams, oysters and Florida lobster-or a fried Fisherman’s Platter, including shrimps, oysters, scallops, clams, and fish fingers.
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