“I’m pretty sure I could fish before I could talk,” says Texas chef Jon Bonnell, who grew up casting for largemouth bass and crappie in a pond on his granddad’s cattle farm before going on to chase trout, tarpon, cobia, you name it. A year ago, Bonnell turned his lifelong passion for seafood into Waters, the second of two restaurants he helms in his hometown of Fort Worth. Now he’s giving the rest of us a leg up with his recently released cookbook. Cleverly divided into sections based on preparation, from chilled and raw to crispy-fried, the book includes recipes that range from the familiar (Creole gumbo and barbecued shrimp) to the showstopping (oysters and shiitakes in a brandy cream sauce). “People are so intimidated by seafood,” Bonnell says, “so I’ve made sure to give lots of instruction. I’m not keeping any secrets.”
Food & Drink
Whole Roasted Pompano
Serves 1 to 2
The Texas chef shares a recipe from his new cookbook
photo: Jody Horton, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith
1 whole pompano, roughly 1½ to 2 pounds*
2 tsp. pink sea salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
6–8 sprigs fresh dill
1 lemon, thinly sliced
*Preparing the fish:
The only cleaning required for the pompano is to gut the fish. Rinse well with cold water both inside and outside, allow to dry, then rub all over with olive oil and sea salt (inside the cavity as well).
For the dish:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the fish on a sheet pan over a few sprigs of fresh dill, then stuff the inside loosely with lemon slices and remaining dill. Roast for 18–20 minutes, or until done. The internal temperature of the meat should reach 145 degrees. Allow to cool slightly, then serve whole.
Recipe from chef Jon Bonnell’s Waters, Fine Coastal Cuisine.
Simmer a Second Life Out of Crawfish
A Mississippi chef’s secrets to crawfish leftovers, plus a recipe for snapper with crawfish curry
Classic She Crab Soup
A Southern coastal staple prepared by the matriarch of Edisto Island
Fried Shrimp the Lowcountry Way
Plus, two seafood sauce recipes
Food & Drink
A State-by-State Guide to the South’s 35 Best Oysters
Oyster experts from around the South weigh in on their favorite oysters, by state
Food & Drink
How an Award-Winning Pastry Chef Doctors Up Boxed Cornbread
Even Kelly Fields whips up a box of Jiffy every once in a while. Here’s how she makes the store-bought stuff her own
Five Out-of-the-Way Spring Break Escapes
Remote Southern retreats to help you unwind and unplug