As many of you know I have lived a good portion of my life in Key West. Though a fishing paradise, my primary interaction with fish is to cook them. I like to think I do it with reverence. When I learned that it was considered ill mannered if not corrupt to add cheese to any dish from my first chef bosses … I took it as gospel.
Not long after joining the kitchen crew at The Pier House I began to work with a talented New York City born Irishman named Danny McHugh. Though he did serve a time in the financial world up there the stress got to him and abandoned it to take up the charms he found in Key West. Danny was a very skilled saucier … the French gastronomic term for the person who makes the sauces. He was an accomplished butcher as well. Danny also excelled at finding a good place for a drink … and conversation after work. One of we locals favorite places was the ‘Full Moon Saloon’, a kind of off the beaten track place that kept the tourists largely out of the way. Rick Lutz was in charge of the kitchen of the Full Moon Saloon. Not long after the place opened he created a fish sandwich that was just the tonic and ballast needed for a night of drinking. Rick made his fish sandwich with a batter of Bisquick and buttermilk, dusted it with cracker meal, fried it and topped with cheddar cheese melted in gooey profusion over the fish. So Young Rick broke with the dictates regarding never serving fish with cheese… and he did it in a fishing town!
I had to learn more where these laws of unholy ingredient partnerships came!
Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show!
Photo Credit to Penny De Los Santos