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Margarita Redfish (Matagorda Seafood Platter)

The Matagorda Seafood Platter is something I have been perfecting for a number of years. It is actually a compilation of scratch recipes that add up to create a delicious meal. There are a couple of important pieces of this compilation missing, namely the Mexican Rice and Borracho Beans. My wife has refused to divulge this information, and who can blame her? It has taken her years to perfect these two recipes, and I can honestly say they cannot be improved upon. It is her well-earned right, and I have to respect that. So, you will have to fill-in-the-blanks and be content to see the pictures. Maybe someday she will come around, but I wouldn't hold my breath. She is as stubborn as a burro, and twice as tough!

While growing up, one of my favorite special meals was the traditional seafood platter. You know what I am talking about... It is usually made up of fried catfish, fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried stuffed shrimp, fried crawfish, fried crab claws, and fried stuffed crab. Oh, and did I mention French fries? While absolutely delicious, I am positive that over the years it has been a major contributor to the expansion of my waste-line. And my wife will no longer allow me to order it, even on my birthday. Well, I don't know about you, but I think that a seafood platter is one of the joys of living. So, in order to keep this passion of mine from slipping away, I set out to create a more healthy alternative. And I have to tell you, that I think I have it. This is not necessarily a Cajun recipe, you see I married a Latina woman. So it has some influences of Mexico as well as Louisiana, but mostly it is a coastal Texas flavor. Specifically, it is through and through Matagorda. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Bon Appetit! Or, more appropriately, Buen Provecho!

Scott Gaspard

Perfect Margarita:

  • 1 fresh squeezed lime
  • 1 ounce orange liquor (Paula's Texas Orange)
  • 2 ounces 100% agave tequila (Sauza Blanco)
  • 4 ounces sweet-and-sour (Tavern)
  • Course ground salt
  • chilled glass
Pour some course ground salt into a shallow dish. Rub rim of chilled glass with lime, then roll it in the salt. Start with the lime, then add tequila, orange, and sweet-and-sour. Add cracked ice until the glass is full. Add a straw, and gently stir. Take a long sip. Smile.

This is absolutely the first and most important thing you should do, before even starting on the rest of the recipe. It helps to have some good Latin music. You have to get in the mood to make the recipe work.


  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime
  • 1 cup fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Camino powder (cumin)
  • 1 tsp fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 oz 100% agave tequila (Sauza Blanco)
  • 2 fresh redfish fillets
Combine marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl. Smells good doesn't it? Place the redfish fillets into the bowl, and carefully coat with the marinade mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Ranch Sauce:

  • 1 cup buttermilk ranch dressing
  • 1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. pickled jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 tsp Camino powder (cumin)
Combine ranch sauce ingredients in a small glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. This is not required, but it does kick up the recipe a notch. It adds just enough heat and tanginess to enhance but not overpower the flavor of the fish.

Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Camino powder
  • 2 fresh Roma tomatoes, flesh only, chopped
  • Sea-salt to taste
Combine Pico de Gallo ingredients into a small glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. I love the fresh taste of Pico de Gallo. If you prefer guacamole, take a large avocado, smash half of it, chop the other half, mix in half of the above Pico de Gallo.

Pico de Gallo

Mexican (Spanish) rice:

Mexican (Spanish) RiceMexican (Spanish) Rice

Borracho Beans:

Borracho Beans


  • 1 large fresh avocado
  • corn tortillas


  • 3 or 4 large live blue crabs, rinsed well.
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 Tbs liquid crab boil
  • 1 Tbs white vinegar
  • 2 tsp bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
Using a large steamer pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add lemon, cut in half. Add crab boil, bay seasoning, and white vinegar. Add live crabs. Bring water back to boil, then turn off the heat. Let crabs soak in hot water for 30 minutes.

Clean the crabs, extracting the lump crab meat from all but the largest crab. Crack the largest crab in half, keeping two clusters with legs attached.

Lightly sprinkle the lump crab meat with bay seasoning. Saute the lump crab meat and clusters in butter and lime wedges for about 5 minutes.


Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium flame until oil is hot. Cook redfish fillets about 6 minutes per side, carefully turning once with a large spatula. If your kitchen doesn't smell wonderful at this point, something went terribly wrong.

Margarita Redfish

To Serve:

Serve hot with Mexican Rice, Borracho Beans, and warm corn tortillas. Drizzle some of the ranch sauce over the fish. Halve and slice an avocado. Lay onto a lettuce leaf. Top avocado with lump crab meat. Add a large spoonful of fresh Pico de Gallo to the center of the plate. Add a couple wedges of lime. Place crab cluster on the plate with the legs facing out.

Its a good idea to have some extra napkins handy. Another round of margaritas would do well at this point.

Matagorda Seafood Platter

Eat well, and enjoy!


  1. Ha! Sauza, you even used my brand!

  2. I like to use Sauza for Margaritas. It's not too expensive, but is still good quality. Not what I would typically use for a 'sipping tequila', but it does the trick.

  3. Fluffy Mex./Span. Rice that'll work every time:
    1 cup rice (Basmati works best)
    2 cups water or chicken broth
    1/2 tsp. Safran for Spanish rice
    1 tbl. spoon comino seeds or
    1 1/2-2 tbl. spoons ground comino for Mex. rice
    1 tsp. curcuma for mex. rice
    3 whole garlic cloves in the casings
    salt to taste
    2 tbl. spoons extra virgin olive oil
    Put oil in a skillet, slowly stir fry rice (and garlic cloves) at low heat until rice STARTS to take on a tan color. Have water or chicken broth ready and add it and all other ingredients to rice, stir once to mix all ingredients. COVER skillet bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a LOW simmer until all the water or broth has been absorbed. ¡Buen provecho!
    Secret to good rice is the 1 to 2 ratio, i.e. 1 part rice 2 parts water/broth.

  4. Bless you, Sir. My husband and I are misplaced Coastal East Texans living in North Carolina (he's in the Marine Corps so we go where they send us) and we miss the taste of home so much! I caught a big redfish today and wanted to do something special with it. I used your recipe to cook up that fish and my husband ate it with tears in his eyes! Next time, we'll have to bring the nets and get us some crabs to complete the meal. THANK YOU for sharing this!


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