Unlike other Florida festivals that bill themselves as a “seafood” event, the Original Marathon Seafood Festival is the real deal. Fortyone years ago, the festival was organized by commercial fishermen. The same holds true today, in 2017. STONE CRAB Stone crab meat is sweet and delicious and most commonly served with mustard dipping sauce. Did you know the fishery is completely renewable? Fishermen take only the claw before putting the crab back in the water. LOBSTER Fresh from Keys waters is the Florida spiny lobster, nothing like its Northern cousin from Maine. Our “bugs” don’t have claws nor do they grow as large and the meat is a bit saltier and a bit chewier than the Maine variety. MAHI MAHI Mahi fish fillets will be the fish of the day on the heaping plates of fried goodness. Alive, the fish has a stunning iridescent coat of blue-green colors. Cooked, it’s a clean white meat with a mild taste and firm body. KEY WEST PINKS Shrimp found in local waters can grow to enormous sizes — think small lobster. At the seafood festival, they are served steamed, sprinkled with spices and ready to peel. The shrimp are sweet and plump and tasty. CONCH CEVICHE Ceviche is like a cold salsa made with raw fish. By the time it’s done marinating in the base of lime juice, however, the meat is considered “cured.” Ceviche also features a healthy dose of fresh cilantro and onion. CONCH FRITTERS Conch is a shellfish, carefully harvested from gorgeous pink-lipped shells. The fish is cut into tiny pieces, or ground, then tenderized. It’s added to the fritter batter and dropped into boiling oil, served piping hot with a side dish of red cocktail sauce.
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