It is all around us…
We all know what is going to be popular for the year 2012.
Every Internet blogger has placed his opinion informing us what will be popular with chefs from around our nation. Many have said the “Gourmet” mini burger is dead and fresh from the LOCAL farm is going to be in vogue. Great! It is about time that the rest of the U.S. catches up to us in South Florida.
For decades, most well-known South Florida chefs source their foods locally. It has been a phenomenon that has been happening in local restaurants for generations. South Florida chefs have always looked for local foods to use on their menus. We always source locally harvested seafood products like: Key West Yellowtail snapper and Stone crab legs, Gulf of Mexico Black grouper, Applachicola oysters, Blue crab and shrimp, Bimini Gag grouper, Atlantic mahi mahi, wahoo, Yellowfin tuna, Red snapper, swordfish and cobia, along with Caribbean harvested lobster, pink shrimp, Mahi Mahi and several other species of snapper. It has only now become popular for chefs to tell people of this.
We love to cook fresh seafood over natural burning wood grills. Oakwood from north Florida is the preference among South Florida chefs because of its lack of additional off tastes that Tennessee Hickory or Texas Mesquite imparts.
Here is a recipe for snapper you are going to love. Caribbean Spiced Yellowtail snapper.
To prepare for four people:
Get the grill hot by starting the wood over a gas flame or paper igniter. While the wood is getting hot, let the coals spread across the bottom of the grill and place the lightly oiled grill slats atop the coals. Then complete the spice and sauce to accompany the fillets as the coals heat up.
Pink peppercorns 1 Tbsp.
Green peppercorns ½ Tbsp.
Nutmeg 1 Pinch
Mace 2 Pinches
Powdered Ginger ¼ Teasp.
Granulated Onion 1 Teasp.
Granulated Garlic 1/3 Teasp.
Seasalt 1/3 Teasp.
Suagr ¼ Teasp.
Dust all the spices in a coffee grinder. Mixing these spices completely until the peppercorns are completely crushed. Place in a small bowl with a lid, so you can store away until needed.
Lightly dust fillets of 4 (6-7 oz.) snapper with the spices. Place the fillets over the hot wood coals and cook about four inches above the heat skin side down first. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Then carefully flip and sear the flesh side of the fillet for 1-2 minutes more.
Caribbean mango “Coulisgrette” sauce:
Mango, soft and ripe 1 each, dice the flesh
Rice wine vinegar 2 Tbsp.
Mirin, rice wine 2 Tbsp.
Seasalt 1 Teasp.
Tobasco ¼ Teasp.
Shallot, skinless 1 each, chopped
Oil, Extra-virgin, Olive oil 4 oz.
Place all the ingredients (except oil) in a cuisineart and grind well into a smooth paste. As the machine is running, add the oil slowly incorporating completely. The machine will emulsify the sauce and you will use the sauce without heating, served directly on the plate (nappe), underneath where you will place the cooked fillet of snapper.
Serve with fresh asparagus blanched in olive oil and basmati rice cooked with a little coconut milk add in place of the usual amount of water used to cook the rice.
Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme or tarragon. You can dice some more mango and scatter around the plate to garnish and serve.
South Florida chefs love using locally harvested terrestrial-based foods on their menus. Easily, the South Florida region can be designated as America’s farmland during the coldest winter months for foods like: corn, squashes, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, citrus, melons and the list is endless for everyday produce but, produce that is grown in the Redlands (south Miami) is still relatively unknown. We lead all other states in the growth of exotic-tropical food.
Chefs and homemakers know that Florida grows mangos but few people know they are grown right here in their own backyard-Homestead (Florida). Just a few minutes from the towers of glass and steel of a modern American city lies the tropical fruit tree-lined backroads of a small town farming community. Although many chefs in South Florida buy their local foods from a consolidator, they still unknowingly buy from local farmers. Our local harvesters specialize in the common exotic produce like: papaya, coconut, avocado, mango, varieties of bananas and plantain, boniato (the Cuban Sweet potato), starfruit and copious varieties of fresh herbs. Some of the lesser known exotic produce that you will see growing in this region is: mamey sapote, jackfruit, lychee, longan, dragonfruit, guava, hog plum, atemoya, sour sop, black sapote, canistel and jaboticaba.
Chefs use these exotic commodities in ice creams, sauces, chutneys, salsas and marinades. There are a couple cookbooks that feature these foods. “Underneath a Cloudless Sky” is one that features the use of these exotic products to produce a modern metropolitan culinary result.