Archive for August, 2019

Preparing Sea Trout Meunière

Thursday, August 15th, 2019
Sea Trout Meunière. photo by Ken Haenel

Sea Trout Meuniere; photo by Ken Haenel

This is Passport to Texas

Anglers who catch and keep their fish can fill their freezers with nearly free food. That’s what chef and angler Cindy Haenel does.

We don’t let them go unless they’re undersized…we just have so much in the freezer, so we do limit ourselves on how much we keep. But, yeah, we just love them. They’re so tasty. So, we don’t want to throw them back. (laughs).

I met Cindy when she was a chef instructor at Central Market. She’s since retired. But not from fishing or home cooking. I stopped by her place at lunchtime awhile back, just as she was preparing Seatrout…

Meunière style, which is basically lemon and butter with some parsley at the end.

Seasoned trout fillets, dusted with flour, went into a hot non-stick skillet coated with melted butter. After three minutes per side, she transferred the cooked fillets to warm plate which she placed in the oven to keep warm, and then made a quick and delicious sauce with lemon juice, lemon zest, white wine, parsley…and more butter.

Okay. So, now I’m going to taste. Mm…a good amount of lemon. Slide it on off of the fire, and then whisk in that last pat of butter just to thicken up the sauce. Okay. Dump in the parsley. So, taste again—just use a different finger each time for tasting. Oh yeah. Okay that’s it. We’re ready to plate and serve.

Hear the full cooking experience on our podcast Under the Texas Sky, and find a copy of Cindy’s recipe for Seatrout meunière at underthetexassky.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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Trout Meuniere Recipe

A flavorful reimagining of the classic French Sole Meunière that’s simple to prepare and yet decadently rich.

Ingredients
• Spotted Sea Trout fillets (flounder or sand dabs also work well) – 4 fillets
• Salt and pepper
• All-purpose flour (for dusting) *may use gluten free flour
• Cultured unsalted butter – 3 tablespoons *may use more as needed
• Shallot (minced about 1 tablespoon) – 0.5 small
• Dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc) – 2 tablespoons
• Lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon
• Lemon juice, freshly squeezed – 1 tablespoon
• Flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)

Steps
1. Turn on oven to lowest setting.
2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the fillet and then lightly dust all surfaces of the fish with flour.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat until the pan is hot, and the butter has melted.
4. Add the fillets and fry on one side until cooked about half way through (the cooked part will appear opaque if you look at the side of the fillet). Carefully flip using two spatulas and fry until cooked through. Transfer the cooked fish to an oven-safe plate and place in warm oven while you make the sauce.
5. To make the Meunière sauce, add the shallots to the butter in the skillet. Fry until the shallots are tender and just starting to brown.
6. Add the white wine and simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Finish the sauce by whisking in the lemon juice and zest along with the last tablespoon of butter.
7. Pour the Meunière sauce over the fish. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Hatchery Raised Sea Trout for Better Fishing

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Sunrise on a jetty, ready to catch dinner.

This is Passport to Texas

Regulation changes to spotted sea trout, like bag and size limits, is an important tool in our tool box for managing saltwater fish species. A robust a hatchery program is another.

Spotted seatrout is this most popular recreational sportfish out there. So, there’s a lot of pressure on these fish.

Ashley Fincannon is hatchery manager at the Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi; it’s there where they, raise spotted seatrout for stocking…specifically to the Lower Laguna Madre. That bay system also has a five-fish daily bag limit.

The Lower Laguna Madre was the first bay system to go under the five-fish limit and that was when we really ramped up our contribution down there.

Earlier this year, Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed a new regulation to change the bag limit in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake on the upper coast from 10 fish a day to five—as it is in all other bay systems. That’s a good thing.

Anecdotally I know I’ve heard from the fishermen when you go stock that they are catching larger trout now and that the trout fishing is better than ever in the Lower Laguna Madre.

The new bag limits go into effect September first. Learn how we regulate and raise spotted sea trout and also find a tasty recipe for it on our podcast Under the Texas Sky; find it wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Spotted Sea Trout Regulation Change

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

This is why we fish.

This is Passport to Texas

Their abundance, eagerness to hit natural and artificial baits, and their flavor when cooked make the spotted sea trout popular with coastal anglers like Charles O’Neal.

I am just a guy married to a good woman who allows me to fish 150 plus days a year.

We caught up with Charles in February of this year at a public meeting about changes to fishing regulations for spotted seatrout.

I am a passionate spotted seatrout guy. I fish from Brownsville to Alabama.

Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed a new regulation to change the bag limit in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake on the upper coast from 10 fish a day to five—as it is in all other bay systems. During that meeting Charles and other anglers made their feelings known to TPW and to the commissioners who made the final decision.

I think after many, many hours of research that this data does not support the reduction.

After careful review, the commission thought differently. But, Charles O’Neal remains a fan.

More recreational anglers need to come to meetings, stand-up, participate in surveys. And go to the public meeting and get involved with TPWD. They’re not bad people. They give me every piece of information I ask for.

Learn how we regulate and raise spotted sea trout and get a great recipe for it on our podcast Under the Texas Sky; wherever you get your podcasts.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our Series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine — Hunting Teal

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Writer Pam LeBlanc happily waiting for teal.

This is Passport to Texas

Fall hunting season kicks off on September first with dove. Teal is next with a sixteen-day season that runs from September 14th through the 29th.

Last year writer Pam LeBlanc took advantage of an invitation to go teal hunting with former TPW Executive Director, Andy Sansom. She wrote about it for the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

In the article, Pam admits that she is not a hunter, and never imagined she’d find herself slogging through a wetland, wearing rubber waders and shooting at teal. But she did and writes vividly about the experience.

A funny bit is about a “sticky-footed” frog that spent the night in her waders which she’d left on the porch of the Bucksnag Hunting Club in Garwood, where the hunting party stayed. She discovered the little fellow when they were in the truck, headed to into the field.

She writes: [The frog] shot out of my pants and onto the windshield, then ricocheted across the interior of the truck like a tiny, spring-loaded pogo stick, jolting me awake. That would wake me up, too.

Find Pam LeBlanc’s article about her teal hunt in the August-September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

You’ll also find a recipe by Chef Jesse Morris for Smoked Teal in Miso Garlic Butter Sauce.

Our series receives support in part from RAM Trucks: built to serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife… I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Using Nature to Nurture Young Minds

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Learning is even more meaningful when it happens at a state park.

This is Passport to Texas

Nature and nurture join forces when home-schooled children use state parks as their classrooms.

I started doing home schooling because I like to keep my job challenging.

Amy Kocurek is an Interpretative ranger for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Children aren’t the only ones who enjoy class.

After doing the second home school class, I just started noticing how rewarding it was. I felt just so incredibly, I guess, thankful that I was doing these classes. And, I felt like I was making a really positive impact on these children. Who knows if they would have learned the importance of conservation and preservation in addition to all of these other topics that I’m teaching them.

And, it reminds me that’s the point of being an interpretative park ranger is that your making these impacts on people every time that you talk to them. You don’t always think about and sometimes you forget about it if you’ve been doing the job for a long time. Then you have these moments and you see the light kind of ignite.

When students use the parks and the ranger’s expertise in learning, bonds develop between staff and students.

For me, for the home-schooled class, I can see this light in their eyes and I just know I’m making them think about things that maybe they would never have thought about before, I know that I’m making a difference, an impact. And, it’s just incredibly rewarding.

Life…and learning…is better outside.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.