Key West Inspired Snapper Fritters

A favorite destination for Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett, and many more, Key West is known for its palm lined streets and fresh fish straight from the trawlers! 

The Florida Keys is home to five districts, each with their own personality and attractions that make visitors feel like they are a world away. The southernmost paradise, Key West, is just miles from Cuba and is home to an enviably temperate climate and a delicious array of fresh seafood set to a beautiful backdrop.

Bringing together a multitude of cultures that have made Key West home during its history, Key West’s food scene has delicious flavors, like African and Cuban, that are difficult to find anywhere else in the US.

The secret to the amazing seafood of the ares is the water! The Gulf of Mexico mixes with the Atlantic ocean making a perfect nursery for a plethora of fish, crab, and lobster. 

 

Add to that a self-regulated sustainable fishing system; the fishermen of the region have come together to create a eco-balancing fishing plan that naturally controls over ­producing populations that threaten to take over the ecosystem.

The island is home to a tantalizing fusion of cuisines. At night, the street a lit up with vibrant sidewalk cafes that lure in passersby with delicious scents of their specialties. Live music and hopping bars are the perfect pairings to watch the sunset into the Gulf of Mexico.

Local fish include the Hogfish, Mangrove Snapper, and as of late the Lion Fish, that you would not see anywhere else in the US. 

The Hogfish, affectionately called the Key West Turkey, is caught by spear fishing, and, typically served whole, stuffed with lobster, onions, and herbs. Another typical Key West dish is fish fritters, typically made with grouper, and, seasoned with a mix of celery seed, paprika, red pepper and salt. 

I decided to put my twist on this dish with red snapper, one of my favorite white fish and making it gluten free with chick flour batter! The recipe is below. 


FLORIDA STYLE Chickpea Snapper Fritters {baked}

You don't want the skin on the fish for this preparation. You can either skin it yourself using a very sharp knife or have your fishmonger do that for you. Most grocery store counters will oblige if they have a separate fish station.

1/2 lb fresh red snapper

3/4 cup chickpea flour

1 egg

juice of 1 lemon

3 T olive oil or coconut oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 radishes, finely diced

1 tsp worchester sauce

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp crushed celery seeds

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl to make a thick batter.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Scoop about 1.5 tablespoons of fish fritter batter  onto the sheet. You will get about 15-16 fritters.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 25-27 minutes until the tops are golden and the flour is fully cooked.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with tartar sauce or other vinegary sauce.

The acidity will help cut through the richness of the fritter.


Not only are visitors able to jump on the boat for themselves and go fishing in some of the clearest waters, but they are able to sit back and relax, knowing they can find the same fresh fish in local restaurants
— Paul

As a guide to the restaurant and seafood landscape, Paul Menta of Three Hands Fish gave us the lowdown. The Philly native began his culinary career in Spain and France, Paul has made it his mission to tap into all Key West has to offer. His most recent venture, Three Hands Fish is a member based fish market in Key West with the distinction of focusing on sustainability. Its community of chefs and home­ cooks have access to the freshest fish, shrimp, stone crabs, and lobster that are the catch of the day


A Sample Itinerary

RESTAURANTS

The Stoned Crab: Housed in a resort built in 1956, the restaurant keeps alive the tradition of the fishermen bringing their catches straight to their dock. Head here for stone crab, lobster, Key West shrimp, and more local fish. 

ACCOMODATION

Ibis Bay Resort: It has a retro feel and is home to The Stoned Crab. 

THINGS TO DO

Lucky Fleet: Go for a ride on a private charter to catch the freshest fish for yourself. Chartered by Captain Moe, who has been fishing the waters around Key West for over 30 years, he guides you in hooking the best seasonable seafood. 

Isle Cook: Learn how to prepare the seafood you just caught, take a class here where Paul will teach you how to cook local recipes and healthy meals with seafood.

This post is in collaboration with Key West Tourism; The recipe is an FSK inspired original. Thank you for supporting the sponsors of FSK.