Music to my ears

My husband and I spent last week in Cape Hatteras. We go each May, armed with a suitcase full of books and a lust for finny goodness. Our diet for the week is all seafood, all the time (except for the tomato sandwiches at lunch).

I don’t care for bluefish, but other than that, if it comes out of the water, it can land on my plate just fine. Tuna must have been running off the coast, because restaurant specials on three different days included it, plus the day I visited Risky Business fish market in Avon and cooked in the condo.

I couldn’t really make up my mind at the fish market, so we got a little tuna, some shrimp (freshly steamed on the premises) and tilefish. Tilefish is something you don’t see very often. It’s a thin, white fish, similar in looks to flounder, but with a sweet flavor. I was told the flavor is because the fish eats shellfish, but I’m no expert in fish diet. I seared the tuna on top of the stove in a little olive oil. The tilefish I wrapped in foil with some olive oil, white wine, thin slices of lemon and garlic, and a little oregano. I baked it until it was flaky and tender.

At restaurants, I always get the special (unless it’s the despised bluefish) because that is most likely the freshest and most interesting thing. Using that philosophy, we tried sea mullet for the first time at The Captain’s Table in Buxton – the flavor and texture is a lot like trout.

As we were eating a plate of plump, lightly steamed oysters at the Mad Crabber in Avon, I asked the waitress where they came from. “Out back,” she said, jerking her head toward Pamlico Sound. Just the kind of thing I like to hear.


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