Capt. Ben's Delicious Seafood Chowder
A recipe passed down from John Maltezos, Capt. Ben Marler’s grandfather and an early shipbuilder of Destin.
1 lb. fresh or thawed grouper, snapper or other white fish
1/2 cup bacon drippings
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 (16-oz.) can tomatoes, undrained and cut-up
3 medium white Irish potatoes, cut in pieces
Water to cover
1 clove garlic, optional
3 thin lemon slices
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion and bell pepper in bacon drippings until tender. Add tomatoes and potatoes with enough lightly salted water to cover; bring to boil then reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add pepper, minced garlic and bay leaf, if desired. Add fish. Cook fish for 10 minutes in the boiling broth. Do not overcook. At the last 2 to 3 minutes, add the lemon slices.
Salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf and lemon slices before serving. Cooking lemon too long will cause chowder to become bitter.
Makes 4 servings. Serve with green salad and rolls.
Aunt Willie Mae’s Florida Hushpuppies
Aunt Willie Mae Marler Taylor was Destin’s postmistress for many years.
2 cups water ground corn meal
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup hot water
Mix all dry ingredients; add hot water and onions, milk and egg. Mix thoroughly.
Round into balls and drop into very hot fat, preferably where fish has been cooked. Test a few, as when grease is right temperature the hushpuppies will rise back to the top as soon as dropped.
Fry until brown; drain on brown paper. Makes about 8 servings.
More of Capt. Ben’s recipes can be found in his book, “4 o’clock in the morning”.