The “R” rule may have been true 30 or 40 years ago, but thanks to advances in aquaculture it has fallen by the wayside. It used to be fishermen dug for oysters only in the colder “R” months (September through April) to avoid the spawning season.
Warm waters (above 60 degrees) encourage spawning, rendering oysters bland, soft-textured, and small. Once the spawning season is complete, oysters are generally plumper and better-tasting, thus commanding a higher price tag.
Today’s oysters are more likely to be farmed than found, with farmers having more control over the conditions in which they are grown, harvested, and stored. This means that oyster cultivators can plant oysters in cold waters, thereby staggering spawning and keeping their product available year-round. So forget the “R” rule—any time is fine for eating oysters.
Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant is perched along the east edge of the Jacksonville Beach Boat ramp where you’re entertained with views of the majestic marsh and lively boating scene. Experience a casual setting that boasts the high-quality, fresh seafood you expect from local restauranteurs Benjamin and Liza Groshell and Chris and Deanna Wooten.
2510 2nd Ave North,
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 904-479-3474
4 skinless Grouper fillets
Asparagus either whole or chopped depending of thickness
A combination of fresh rosemary, sage and chives
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
juice of ½ lemon and lemon slices
freshly ground black pepper and garlic salt
4 teaspoons butter or olive oil
Heat oven to 400°. Measure four 24 inch long sheets of parchment.Fold each sheet in half, and starting from the folded side, cut a large half-heart shape.
Open one heart on a work surface and place one quarter of each of the ingredients on the parchment and top with a fish fillet. Repeat with the other three pieces of parchment and ingredients.
Season each with garlic salt and pepper and a pat of butter or olive oil on top.
To seal, tightly roll the edges towards the fish to ensure no juices leak out while cooking.
Place packets on baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the packages are slightly browned and puffy.
* No frogs were harmed in the making of this stew. *
1 ½ gallons water
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 pounds kielbasa, cut into ½ inch slices
10 to 12 ears of corn on the cob
4 pounds of shrimp in the shell
4 pounds stone crab (these are usually pre-cooked)
onions and new or red potatoes
Cook onions and potatoes until softened. In a large stock pot over medium high heat, add the water, lemon, salt and Old Bay Seasoning. Bring it to a boil.
Add the sausage and gently boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add corn on the cob broken into 3 inch pieces and continue cooking an additional five minutes. Add shrimp and stone crab and cook an additional three minutes longer. This is just enough time to cook the shrimp and heat up the pre-cooked stone crab. Remove from heat, drain immediately and serve.
4 soft-shell blue crabs
About 2 cups buttermilk, or just enough to cover the crabs
A few shakes of Tabasco
All-purpose flour seasoned with salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place the soft-shell crabs in a shallow dish. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk and Tabasco. Pour the combination over the crabs and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Place the seasoned flour in another shallow dish. Remove the crabs from the buttermilk. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip off. Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour.
Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, slip in the crabs. Fry them for a few minutes until the undersides are lightly browned, then turn them over and fry the other side. Serve warm.
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped conch meat
½ onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup water
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, Dutch oven, or deep fryer to 365 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix in the conch meat, onion, bell pepper, celery, tomato paste, and water.
In batches, drop the batter by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fritters to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.