Family, friends and food
My childhood was full of memorable times spent in my families' kitchens. If we were all together in the house, we were at the kitchen table while my grandmother, mother, aunt or some cousin was cooking an Italian feast. In our family, food was always the centerpiece of a good times with our family and friends.
There were loud conversations going on, not yelling, but definitely loud. Lots of smiling faces and laughing across the room. This was dinner, lunch or even a Sunday morning at mommoms and poppops for breakfast with Sinatra playing in the background.
Moving to this Island and leaving my family was very hard. However, many of us who live on Anna Maria Island have done it. We found an island paradise full of the best people. It's a community that always pulls together when someone needs it. The love of this Island and each other can be easily found in every restaurant or business out here.
Wake up early and go to breakfast and sit at the community table to talk about how busy it is or how cold it was now that it dropped to 60 degrees for one night. Hang out enjoying a burger and a cold beer at one of the Island's burger joints when you're in need of a rest from the sun or work.
Have dinner and enjoy the sunset at one of our award-winning restaurants and remember that we live in paradise and we're all on Island time. Stop in at one of the local bars for a late snack and a cold beer, shoot some pool watch your favorite team and get a little loud. At the end of the day, you will have been surrounded by friends, family or complete strangers enjoying some of the Island's wonderful food and drink, the views of paradise and interesting conversations with people from all over the world.
The true heartbeat of a town is the food scene. The goal of a well-prepared meal is to bring people to your table. The more people that you can bring, the better the conversation is and the more smiles and laughs you will have. Chefs in general are just trying to make people happy and bring them together at their table for some good times.
Here at Slim's Place our favorite thing to make is fresh fish, and one of the best is the local snapper. We hope you will try it sometime and bring people to your table. Whole fried snapper is the perfect dish to eat with a drink in one hand while you pick perfectly moist local fish with salty fingers from your day in the Gulf. Just make sure it’s surrounded by smiles, laughs and good people Manga!
Whole Fried Snapper
By Chef PJ Smargisso
1 - 3-lb. mangrove snapper
1/4 c. fennel bulb sliced thin
1 clove garlic sliced thin
1/2 lemon sliced thin
1/2 orange sliced thin
1 serrano pepper sliced
Salt and pepper
You can catch a snapper locally or purchase some fresh from one of the great local fish markets on AMI. Have them or your charter captain scale and gut the fish. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut slits into the skin about 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart on both sides. Season the fish inside out with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with all the remaining ingredients. In a pan big enough to lay the fish flat, heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil. Carefully lay the fish in the hot pan and turn the heat down to medium and cook the fish for 4 minutes. Flip the fish carefully and place it in the oven to finish for 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with lemon and serve.