Twelve years. That is how long a particular bunch of musicians and I played the New Year’s Eve gig at the grand, historic and stunningly beautiful Grove Park Inn nestled in the gorgeous Western North Carolina Mountains. One cool thing about this job was that they offered us accommodations on the property and invited us to bring our significant others. Each year we would finish the set-up, do a quick sound and light check, then head to our luxurious rooms to relax before the celebrations started. The TV was always on as we entered showing the Grove Park Inn channel. It featured the property’s chefs and their favorite recipes. This is based on one of the recipes from that video loop.
One year we came home and recreated this in the oven as the chef had demonstrated. Delicious. Made it a few more times during the following months. Consistent. Yesterday it hit me: This was simple and scrumptious in the oven, so why not on the egg? Perhaps add a touch of pecan smoke.
You will need a well seasoned Iron Skillet for this recipe. I used an old ten-inch Wagner skillet that used to be my grandmother’s. Keeping the fish flesh in contact with the hot iron creates a crust so crispy Snap, Crackle AND Pop can’t help but be jealous.
Sprinkled the flesh side of the fillet with salt and pepper. Coated both sides of the fish with the oil using a brush then cut it into the individual serving portions.
Prepared the egg for indirect heat – plate setter with legs up, grate perched on top – 400°F. Tossed just a few Pecan chips onto the coals. Not too many. It is very easy to over-smoke fish. Spread a tiny bit of Canola Oil on the bottom of the Iron Skillet – just enough to barely cover. Placed skillet on the grate and closed the lid. Waited about 10 minutes for the iron to reach temperature. Placed the fish flesh side down on the hot skillet, closed the lid and walked away for 11 minutes – no more and no less. Removed from heat, turned fillet onto a platter skin side down and served immediately. That’s right. No flipping. This helped to create that crust I mentioned earlier.
Here’s a big thank you to the chefs at Grove Park Inn. We appreciate this one for sure!