Conch Reef Style Mahi-Mahi Fingers

My last fishing adventure was truely awesome! The ocean gods answered my prayer with a 25 lb. Mahi-Mahi.

The Mahi-Mahi was caught while trolling Conch Reef(identified on the map below).

I call this recipe "Conch Reef Style Mahi-Mahi Fingers".


2 pounds of Mahi-Mahi Fillets; cut into 1” Strips
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
½ teaspoon of pepper
½ cup of flour
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic
1 tablespoon of hot or mild chili season
5 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Limes, Halved

Cooking Instructions 
  1. Pat Mahi-Mahi Fingers dry with a paper towel.
  2. Whisk together eggs and milk in a small bowl
  3. Combine salt, pepper, flour, cumin, garlic, and chili seasoning on a shallow plate.
  4. Coat fingers and flour mixture; dip in egg mixture, then into a flour mixture. Set aside to dry for 5 minutes.
  5. Melt butter and oil together in a heavy skillet over moderate heat.
  6. When butter foams, add the fingers; cook 3-5 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Serve with lime halves.
Yield 6 servings!


Good Morning America and Islamorada, FL

A view from our office down here in the Keys as seen by Good Morning America!

Click on the link and then book your ticket to stop by to see us at Robbie's of Islamorada.

World Record Sushi Yellowfin Tuna Caught on Party Boat!

Congratulations to the Vagabond Party Boat and of course Mike Livingston on his world record party boat catch!

There was spirited celebration on the San Diego waterfront Monday morning after the vessel Vagabond returned from a long-range fishing trip into Mexican waters and offloaded the heaviest yellowfin tuna ever caught by an angler.

The behemoth, landed by Mike Livingston of Sunland, Calif., weighed 405.2 pounds; it's girth was 61 inches and it measured nearly 86 inches from nose to tail.

The catch, made on 100-pound-test line after nearly a three-hour fight, will be submitted to the International Game Fish Assn. for approval as an all-tackle world record. Capt. Mike Lackey said IGFA rules were followed so the catch likely will replace the current record, a 388-pound 12-ounce specimen, which has stood since 1977.

"When the scale hit that number it was like the Super Bowl here," said Livingston, 63, a retired school administrator, in reference to cheers from a crowd of nearly 200, gathered to witness the weigh-in.

Bacon Wrapped Lobster Tails


Lobster tails, slightly frozen for easy removal

BBQ Sauce

Bacon Strips (one per tail)

Lawry’s Season Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Cut lobsters out of shells with kitchen shears after they are partially thawed.
  3. Place in baking dish covered with foil, lightly sprinkle lobster with Lawry’s season salt and wrap each tail in bacon. 
  4. Cover and bake at 275 for one hour. Uncover and brush with BBQ Sauce, turn temperature up to 400.
  5. Cook for ½ hour or until golden brown.

Florida Keys Living: Key West Pink Shrimp and Florida Lobster Tails Sautéed with Hot Key Lime Butter Sauce

About 80% of vacationers ask me how I cook seafood now compared to when I lived in Minneapolis, MN.

I tell them, not much has changed except that I am a much happier cook. Mainly, because I following my 8 simple rules for Florida Keys cooking:

1. Keep it simple

2. Do not be afraid to screw up.

3. Take a risk.

4. Ask for help.

5. Don’t be in a hurry.

6. Be yourself.

7. Have a back up plan.

8. Relax

This recipe is sure to be a hit around your dinner table this holiday season!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter plus 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon of your Favorite Hot Sauce

1 ½ tablespoon Key Lime Juice

½ tablespoon minced garlic

2 pounds medium Key West Pink Shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined

1 ½ pounds of spiny lobster tails (about 4 small tails) removed from the shells removed from the shells and coarsely chopped.

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup of white wine

6 cups of pasta or rice.

Prepare the Sauce early in the day: Place 8 tablespoons butter in a small bowl and allow it to soften at room temperature. Add hot sauce and lime juice; stir to mix well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate this until needed.

Melt 2 tablespoons plain butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Key West Pink Shrimp and Florida Lobsters and sauté, stirring frequently, until shrimp just turns pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Reduce heat to medium. Add mushrooms, scallions, and wine. Sauté, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add key lime hot sauce butter and stir until the butter melts and is well blended with seafood. Serve with hot pasta or rice.



How to Cook a Whole Fish

Winter came early in November of 2009 in Minnesota. It was my last fishing trip on the Mississippi River before moving to the Florida Keys. My fishing buddy and I pulled the boat onto the happy hour sandbar so his dog could stretch his legs, while we drank Old Style beer and cooked Wisconsin brats over a fire.
As we stood over the fire cooking the brats that day I said, “We should try cooking whole fish this way”.

The brats absorbed the smoky flavor of the fire with little risk of burning and the meat stayed moister than cooked over direct heat. So I applied this same cooking technique to whole fish. It takes a little bit more energy, but not much if you follow these instructions:

I have found that the best fish for grilling whole are flat saltwater fish, like Yellowtail Snapper, Mangrove Snappers, and Mahi-Mahi.

  1. First, gut and scale the fish. Rinse to get rid of any remaining blood or viscera, and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels.  
  2. With a sharp knife split the fish upward to the dorsal fin to separate the meat into halves still attached by skin. Run a sharp knife along one side of the backbone to the dorsal fin. Be careful not to cut through the skin. The bones will be easy enough to remove once the fish is cooked
  3. With your knife, splice three or four slits partially through each side of the fish to ensure even cooking (this step is unnecessary with small fish).
  4. Baste the fish inside and out with coarse sea salt and pepper then rub it with a bit of olive oil, peanut oil or butter (for both flavor and to prevent sticking). Flavor the meat, by lining cavity with thin slices of lemon, key limes, diced onions, peppers, butter, minced garlic, and basil.
  5. Sew the fish shut with wet kitchen twine.
  6. Lump the hardwood coals in the grill opposite side you will be cooking the fish directly over with about 6-8 quarts of hardwood coals. This will be your direct heat source. To prevent the fish from sticking to the grill, oil the grate.
  7. Preheat the grill on low heat. Place the fish on the grate on the opposite side of the lump of hot coals (away from the direct heat grill heat (hot coals piled up opposite the fish).
  8. Cover the grill. Grill until the fish turns dark and crisp, depending on the size of the fish, this may take 15-60 Minutes.
  9. Make sure the fish is fully cooked by pressing the fish with your finger. The area around where you pressed will break into firm flakes and it should pull away easily from the bones. (If you like a bit of charring, set the finished fish directly above the hot coals for a minute or two. )
  10. Use a spatula to slide the fish off the grate and onto a serving platter.


Key West Black Bean Chili Recipe

The black bean is said to have made its way to the Florida Keys many centuries ago by Cuban immigrants.

Black Beans, also known as the turtle beans are being called a miracle fruit. Black Beans provide a virtually fat-free, high quality source of protein. Recent research also shows that Black Beans are rich in antioxidants as well.

On a cold day, warm your friends and family with “Key West Hot Black Bean Chili”.

2 tablespoons of olive oil

¼ cup of minced garlic

2 ½ cups of chopped yellow onions divided

2 ½ pounds of lean ground beef

¼ cup of Chili powder

2 tablespoons of paprika

1 tablespoon chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

¾ teaspoon ground coriander

1 cup merlot or cabernet sauvignon

1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth

1 (14-ounce) can beef broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can garlic-and-olive-oil petite-cut tomatoes, drained

3 tablespoons Asian hot chili sauce

¼ cup tomato paste

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained

1 cup sour cream

1. Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and 2 cups chopped onions. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, paprika, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander. Stir to mix well with beef and onions.

2. Add wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add broths, chopped tomatoes, chili sauce, and tomato paste. Stir to mix well. Bring mixture to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until liquid thickens slightly. (At this point chili can be cooled and refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days

3. Add black beans and cook on medium-low heat until heated through, about 15 minutes. (If reheating base soup, bring base soup to a simmer before adding beans.) Ladle soup into shallow soup bowl and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped onions.