We stopped by Mineral Springs Seafood thanks to a tip from Florida food maven Kati Schardl, who called it “just a little ol’ fish house selling quality stuff!” Kati said that she always stops here both on the way to the beach and on the way back for “amazing smoked fish and crab dips” as well as seafood brought in by Mineral Springs’ own boat.
You know you are in for a treat the moment you open the door of your car and inhale the scent of sweet hardwood smoke emanating from the outdoor smoke pit. The shop is strictly take-out – there is no place to eat on premises – but if you have an appetite for Florida seafood at its finest, it behooves you to stop here. We don’t know about the raw fish, which looks fine, but we can say that salmon, fresh off the smoker, is firm and agreeably oily, packed with luxurious flavor.
As for the dips Kati recommended, each one, made with mullet, salmon, or grouper, is smooth, smoky, masterfully seasoned to highlight whichever fish it features. But the one known as “Hot Mess” is in a class by itself, maybe the best fish spread ever. A smoky melange of cobia, tuna, and salmon with little hot pops of candied jalapeno pepper, it is one of those foods so flavorful that you keep eating it even after appetite has become a memory. I stopped at a Dollar General store down the road, picked up a $1 box of crackers, and feasted on Hot Mess until it was gone.