Monthly Archives: September 2009

Deep Fried Yellowtail Snapper – and more!

I may be poor but I eat like a “conch,” and those men with crowns don’t know what they’re missing!

The wine- a little too sweet for my taste.

Key West Hurricane white sangria wine- a little sweet for my taste.

When the craving calls for fresh fish fillets (which occurs quite often down here in the Florida Keys), I don’t have to drive to the local grocery store or break out the plastic at a fine dining seafood restaurant to get my fill.

I just hit the water.

From grouper to snapper, to dolphin to swordfish, the Keys offer anglers a bounty of delicious and diverse tasting species that are exquisite fried, blackened, sautéed, or anyway you choose to prepare it!

This week I had an appetite for yellowtail snapper- a mild, flaky white meat fish, and one of my favorites. So on Monday, after a few late summer thunderstorms rolled through the islands, I loaded up the boat (aka my friend’s boat) and set out for the reef.

The end result…dinner!

Deep fried yellowtail snapper with scalloped potatoes, homemade cheesy buttermilk biscuits, and a bottle of Hurricane wine straight from the Key West winery.

A true southern meal, fit for the southernmost dinner tables in the continental United States.

Here’s how I prepared the fish:

Deep Fried Yellowtail Snapper with Italian Bread Crumbs


  • Yellowtail snapper fillets, cut into 3 inch pieces.
  • All purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Butter milk
  • Vigo® Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • Vegetable Oil for frying


Heat oil to 350 degrees. Season the flour with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Roll fish in the flour and then coat thoroughly with buttermilk. Remove from buttermilk and toss  in Italian bread crumbs until breading covers the fish. Place in hot oil and cook until golden brown and the fish becomes white and flaky.


In addition to having a craving for deep fried yellowtail snapper, I also wanted to try my hand at making buttermilk biscuits…from scratch. I had all the ingredients in store from when I tried* to bake my wife a birthday cake last weekend, so I figured I’d give it a go.

I based my biscuits on this Tyler Florence recipe.

The one alteration I made was that I added cheese…lots of cheese. Cheddar and Monterey Jack to be precise.

If you make this recipe on your own I highly advise adding cheese. After all, cheese is the lifeblood of happy wives.


Overall the biscuits were a tad dry but still very tasty. I don’t have a mixer so I “mixed” the ingredients by hand, therefore the biscuits may not have been prepared entirely the correct way.


*I tried to bake my wife a birthday cake, or “Frisbee” cake as it was best described after completion- and the end result was a disaster of epic baking proportions. I wish I had a photo, although I wouldn’t show it to you.

It was a true calamity of cake! A brown, crumbling disc of misplaced flavor with a porous texture that resembled the surface of the moon. If the moon was brown.

I tried to follow this recipe found on my friend’s website

A recipe that I guarantee tastes as good as it looks. That is if you follow the instructions (hot chocolate mix is not a good substitute for cocoa powder) and have the necessary ingredients and cookware.

Oh well, better luck next time. At least I was able to make the chocolate covered strawberries that were supposed to go on top of the cake. So that alone was an accomplishment.

— And last but not least— a photo of Innis, my Australian Shepherd, only minutes after he jumped on the table and engulfed a cheesy biscuit while I wasn’t looking. Bad dog. But smart.

The dog who stole the cheesy biscuit. Bad Innis!

The dog who stole the cheesy biscuit. Bad Innis!

R.I.P. Pentax Optio W60

17231_optiow60_silver_3qview1Optio, Pentax W.

(December 25, 2008- September 7, 2009)

Mr. Pentax Optio passed on Labor Day weekend while doing what he loved most; capturing beautiful  images of Florida Keys underwater sea life.

Mr. Optio, best known for his work providing fishing and outdoors photography for websites such as,, and for the Florida Keys Weekly Newspapers, will truly be missed.

Friends remember Pentax for his great attention to detail and uncanny ability for always capturing people in their best light. He was a true adventurer- never hesitating to dive headfirst into the ocean to get a shot of a dolphin fish swimming by, or video record an angry shark hooked up from a kayak.

Pentax is preceded in death by his father, Nikon CoolPix 5600 (who died tragically last year in a kayaking accident); his grandfather, Kodak EasyShare C433 (who passed away during the 2008 Key Colony Beach boat parade); and several cellular phone cousins who met similar fates in the waters of the Atlantic.

Friends are invited to remember Pentax by viewing his photographs featured on and

Donations in the form of used digital cameras are now being accepted and can be mailed directly to the Pentax Fund, courtesy of Drew Dinan, P.O. Box 510442 Key Colony Beach, Florida 33051. Beer and food donations will also be accepted and greatly appreciated.

Sparky’s Landing: A Feature

To view a version that is easier to read please click on the article below. You will be taken to a new page where you can click on the icon and then zoom in or out.sparkys1