Meet the melt-in-your mouth key ingredient that stars in the wildly popular pan-seared hogfish at Opal Sands’s Sea-Guini, plus the recipe for you to take home.


The menu at Sea-Guini at Opal Sands Resort changes a couple of times a year (usually in the winter and summer), but there has been one fixture since the restaurant opened in early 2016: the pan-seared hogfish. Served over shrimp and smoked bacon hash, sweet corn broth, and roasted cauliflower, it commonly receives compliments as glowing as, “That was the best dish I’ve ever had!” and has set itself apart from the restaurant’s other dishes in terms of its raw popularity.

Why so popular? The signature ingredient of local hogfish doesn’t hurt. With a funky snout, perhaps comparable to a pig (hence the “hogfish” moniker), it’s prized for it mild, delicate taste. It’s sweeter than grouper, flakier than mahi-mahi, and as rich as scallops. It’s no surprise, then, that this sought-after fish is a favorite among tourists looking for an authentic Florida dish.

It’s also the kind of dish that’s possible for amateur chefs to whip up in their own kitchen, says Sea-guini’s Executive Chef Michael Crosby, requiring only basic kitchen equipment and ingredients you can easily find in your local grocery store. Hey, if you can’t make it down to Sea-Guini, it’s the next best thing.

The Recipe

Ingredients

Hogfish
4 7-oz.      hogfish fillets, skin on, pin bones removed
1 Tbsp.     olive oil
TT            kosher salt and black pepper

Smoked Bacon Shrimp Hash
1/2 c.       smoked bacon, diced
2 Tbsp.   olive oil
1/2 c.      Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tsp.  garlic, minced
1 c.          local sweet corn
6 oz.       Gulf shrimp, diced
1 tsp.      thyme, chopped
1 tsp.      Italian parsley, chopped
2 c.         fingerling potatoes, diced and cooked
1 tsp.      butter
TT          kosher salt and black pepper

Corn Broth
2 Tbsp.   butter
1              shallot, sliced
1/4 c.     yellow onion, sliced
1 c.          local sweet corn
2 c.         heavy cream  kosher salt and white pepper

Cauliflower
1 head     tri-colored cauliflower
2 oz.        olive oil
TT           kosher salt and pepper

Directions

For the Corn Broth
1. In saucepan over medium heat, sweat shallots and onion in butter, then add corn and cream.
2. After simmering for about 15 minutes (until onion is translucent), remove from heat and cool. Pour mixture into blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a chinois and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

For the Smoked Bacon Shrimp Hash
1. Precook the potatoes until just tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a cold pan, add diced bacon with olive oil and render until it starts to become crispy (there may be excess fat, but that will be absorbed by the potatoes and add flavor and saltiness to the entire dish).
3. Add onions and continue to cook for a minute until translucent. Add garlic and stir for another few seconds before adding the corn and shrimp. When shrimp is almost fully cooked, add the herbs, potatoes, butter, and any additional seasoning you wish. Set aside.

For the Cauliflower
1. Cut cauliflower into smaller florets and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Roast in a 325-degree oven until lightly browned and tender. Set aside.

For the Hogfish
1. Score the skin of the hogfish to prevent it from curling up. Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat until smoking. Sear fish, skin side down, until browned and crispy, which should be about 2 minutes. You may need to press down to ensure an even sear over the entire fillet. Flip the fish when ready and finish in oven if necessary. You’ll know when it’s done when the fish is firm and white.

Putting it All Together
1. Spoon the hash in the center of the plate.
2. Place hogfish on top, then arrange cauliflower around fish.
3. Pour corn broth over plate and serve.

 

Where to Stay Opal Sands Resort