Every summer brings a break from school, warm days at the beach and good food. Really all of these things can be enjoyed year round, but they seem to be more savory during the hot months of summer.
One of the clear luxuries of life at the beach is fresh gulf seafood. There is something extremely satisfying about knowing your meal was just caught that day.
There are tons of great seafood markets all over Panama City Beach but the one I seem to frequent the most (because it’s close to home) is Buddy’s Seafood Market on Highway 79. I think they are open until 6 every day and reckon they start pretty early.
I’ve enjoyed a variety of fresh fish but my favorites this summer are grouper and flounder.
My wife loves the light flavor and flakey texture of the flounder and large, thick grouper steaks just make my mouth water writing about them.
How I prepare the fish
If you’ve never prepared fresh seafood yourself, you’re really missing out. Not only is it cheaper, the chances of you getting an overcooked piece of fish are much less.
This is what I do:
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Lay out as many pieces of foil as you have fish on a baking sheet. Make the foil sections large enough to wrap up the edges a little. This will keep the juices in.
- Put a few splashes of olive oil on the foil to help prevent sticking.
- Lay the individual pieces of fish on their piece of foil.
- Put a few plops of butter on the fish.
- Squirt a few dashes of lemon juice on each fillet.
- Sprinkle some Lawry’s salt on top.
- Bake flounder for about 5 minutes and check for flakiness.
- Grouper will probably need longer but it depends on the thickness.
- I generally check every five minutes or so, then every minute once I think it’s close.
I wouldn’t say necessarily that I’m a donut connoisseur, but my tongue test results say these are the best donuts I’ve ever had. They are a delicacy that you have to have while you’re at the beach.
They are located right on Front Beach Road just past the Laguna Beach area.
Pro-tip: get there early and pick up a few red velvet before they sell out. If you want to make them a little more delicious, microwave one for about 7 seconds.
True, fish tacos could fall under the ‘fresh seafood’ category, but for me, it’s a totally separate tradition. There are a variety of places that serve fish tacos with a variety of types of fish. And while Finns was my favorite at one point, my new favorite is at Hook’d.
They have two options: catfish or snapper – in which catfish isn’t really an option for me. The snapper is well worth the extra $3. They serve them with this slaw that has a flavor that, when added to the tacos, makes the flavor of the tacos really pop. They are really amazing.
But, lately, I’ve actually been into their shrimp tacos. I love the texture of the shrimp and the same sauce that graces the fish tacos makes the shrimp tacos just as delicious. Reminder, make sure to put the slaw ON the taco – it really sets you up for a party in your mouth.
Hook’d is located at the foot of the Russell Fields Pier (across from Pier Park) in Panama City Beach.
What are your favorite summer traditions?Print Story