One of my favorite places to visit, fish and relax is Ocracoke Island in North Carolina. Something about that barren, windswept spit of land feels comfortable and like home.
On one of my trips I booked a day fishing trip with a local captain. I met with three other guys dockside at about 6:30 in the morning. We were into introductions about the time our boat pulled up to the dock. It was a perfect fall day, warm but not hot. The sea had some nice swells, but it was mostly calm. It took an hour to get to our designated fishing spot. We began to troll for red drum, or redfish. The very same fish that Cajun cuisine made famous as: Blackened Redfish.
We had fished for several hours, and had all caught our limit of large drum. As we pulled up to dock, a local named Mac offered to clean and filet our fish. I watched as he quickly and skillfully worked the knife. Each filet was perfect. As a group, we decided to meet up for dinner. They offered to grill up some of their fish. I picked up some produce from a small stand I had seen earlier. I bought several ears of corn and some fingerling potatoes. The guys had slathered the fillets in Italian dressing, just as the locals had mentioned they do. Liberal amounts of salt and pepper were also in play. The fillets were wrapped in foil and laid on the grill. I followed suit and did the potatoes in olive oil with salt and pepper and wrapped them up in foil packs. The corn was rolled over the grill with tongs. Still in the husks, the corn steams and when done husk and silk remove easily.
It was an amazing meal, fresh fish, simple application, yielding superb flavor. Paired with fresh seasonal vegetables, ice cold beer and new found friends. I still think about that meal from time to time. It was one of the best fish dinners I’ve ever had.