Some of the region’s best chefs set the table with their favorite holiday recipes
SHRIMP AND GRITS
By Chef Tobias Adams, Matt's Fish Camp, Bethany
4 lbs “16/20” shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ lb smoked bacon, diced
2 large vine-ripe tomatoes or equal amount cherry or grape tomatoes, diced 1/2”
1 large bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 large fresh jalapeño, seeded and diced
½ medium red onion, diced
2 bunch green onion, thinly sliced (use white and green of onion; reserve handful for garnish)
6–8 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced
2–3 tsp favorite blackening or Cajun seasoning
¼ cup dry white wine
½-1 cup favorite stock (chicken or fish)
2–3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt & pepper to taste
1½ cup coarse-ground yellow grits
6 cups favorite stock or water
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½–1 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
For grits: Bring stock and butter to a hard boil in medium saucepan. Add grits and stir vigorously for about a minute, until grits bloom. Reduce heat to simmer; continue approximately 20–25 minutes, stirring every few minutes as to not stick to pan. Add cream to desired consistency. Grits should be thick enough to almost stand spoon. Cover and keep warm. May need to loosen with a little more liquid before you serve. Note: Add favorite cheese if desired. (White cheddar is great.)
For shrimp: Render bacon in heavy-bottomed large sauté pan until just crisp. Add peppers, onions, garlic, shallot, parsley and mix. Cook 1–2 minutes on med-high heat until tender. Add shrimp and blackening seasoning to taste. As shrimp begin to turn pink, add wine; reduce/denature by half. Add stock; reduce by half, approximately 2 minutes. Add tomatoes. Reduce heat to simmer; finish with butter to achieve nice nappe. To serve, portion grits onto plate or bowl; evenly distribute shrimp mixture. Garnish with green onions. Enjoy!
BAKED WHOLE FISH WITH PARSNIP PUREE WILD MUSHROOM, CARAMELIZED ONION & SWISS CHARD LEMON-BUTTER SAUCE
By Chef Carlos Rubio, Catch 54
¼ lb whole fish (black bass, snapper, branzino), scaled and gutted
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup fresh herbs
1 bulb garlic, rough-chopped
Preheat oven to 400°. Make 3 slits, about ¼-inch deep, on each side of fillet. Coat the fish in the olive oil and season it with the cracked pepper and sea salt. Be sure to do this on both the outside and inside of the fish. Stuff the cavity with chopped garlic, lemon slices and fresh herbs. Transfer the fish to a baking sheet or casserole roasting pan. Bake the whole fish until the flesh is opaque and separates easily from the back bone (35-45 minutes for a 4 lb fish and 50-60 minutes for a 6 lb fish). When fish is finished, place fish on its own platter over some fresh herbs, as a nice presentation. Drizzle lemon-butter sauce on top and place some extra in a bowl on the side. Make the sides while the fish is cooking.
MUSHROOMS, ONION & SWISS CHARD
1lb wild mushrooms, cut into 1” pieces
1 large onion, sliced thin
1lb Swiss chard, cleaned and sliced in 1” slices
1 tsp fresh garlic, chopped
½ cup white wine
S&P to taste
In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook over medium heat, until slightly translucent. Add the Swiss chard and cup of white wine to the sauté pan. Simmer and cook down the Swiss chard until tender. Finish with S&P to taste.
1lb parsnips, peeled and cut into large dices
2 cups heavy cream
4 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
1 head of garlic, rough-chopped
4 oz unsalted butter
Ground pepper & salt to taste
In a sauce pot, place heavy cream, thyme, garlic and parsnips. Cook the parsnips in the heavy cream until soft and tender, over medium heat at a low simmer. Strain the mixture and place only the parsnips into a food processor or blender. Turn the processor or blender on low, with enough of the strained cream to go halfway up the cooked parsnips.
Add the butter as its blending. Add more cream for a loose puree. Season with S&P to taste.
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
2 fresh bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon, halved
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
In a small pot, squeeze the two lemon halves in and heat them to a boil with the white balsamic, bay leaves, black pepper and garlic. Reduce the liquid until it is about ¼ cup left in the pot. (Should be a dark color, almost amber.) Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cut the heat and whisk in the cold butter. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
By Chef Danio Somoza, 99 Sea Level
(2 lbs assorted fish and shellfish in any combination) Shrimp, scallops, chorizo, clams, mussels, lobster tail, crabmeat
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 can tomato juice
1 can diced tomato
1 can clam juice
1 onion, chopped
1 cup cloves garlic, minced
8 each tomatoes, chopped
½ cup fennel, chopped
½ cup fresh herbs (in any combination): thyme, parsley, oregano
2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
5 cups lobster stock
8 oz lobster base
10 cups water
2 cups dry white wine
1 Tbsp sea salt
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. When hot, add in the leek, onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes until softened, but not brown. Add in the orange peel, tomatoes, fennel, fresh herbs, saffron, fish trimmings, water, wine and salt. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the soup into another large pot. Bring the strained soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Taste and adjust with additional salt if needed. The soup should be slightly salty (remember we still have unseasoned seafood to add into the soup).
Now, while cooking the seafood, add in the items that require the most cooking time first. If you have whole lobster tails, add in first and give them a 2-minute head start. Clams and mussels next, then wild rice, chorizo and crabmeat. Extra-large shrimp will follow, and lastly, the fish, scallops and any smaller shrimp. Be careful not to overcook the seafood, so 4-5 minutes max, then turn off the heat.
PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE PAN-ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS & BACON
By Chef Carlos Rubio, Catch 54
1.5 lb large ocean scallops
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt & pepper
Be sure scallops are completely dry by patting them dry with paper towels. Place oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wait until the oil is very hot; check this by lowering a scallop into the oil. If it sizzles right away, the pan is ready. Place scallops in large pan, 1 inch apart. Sear for 3 minutes on each side. For best results, cook scallops right before you are ready.
FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 lb whole Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
½ lb bacon, chopped fine
Two shallots, sliced thin
Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until almost crispy and done. Add the shallots and Brussels sprouts to the bacon fat and bacon in the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat until the Brussels sprouts char up in the bacon fat, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
FOR THE MAPLE GASTRIQUE
½ cup maple syrup, Grade A
1 cup red-wine vinegar
1 dried Thai chili pepper
Toast the Thai chili pepper in the bottom of a small pot. Add the maple syrup and the red-wine vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce until a thick syrup texture forms, about 8 minutes. Cool completely and use a spoon to check consistency. The gastrique should coat the back of the spoon but should still be fluid.
Set up the plate:
On the individual plate, put a dallop of butternut squash puree in the center and push it down with a spoon. Add the roasted Brussels sprouts next, right on top of the puree. Add 4-6 scallops on top of the sprouts, drizzle maple gastrique over scallops and finish with sea salt and cracked pepper.
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