Slow food feast

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By Betty Cortina-Weiss

As the slow food movement—the push to eat fresh, regionally sourced, sustainably farmed ingredients—continues to expand across the globe, it’s taken a strong hold in Miami as well. With restaurants here increasingly touting their ties to Florida farms, diners in the 305 are savvier than ever about where their food comes from. Of course, eating out isn’t the only way to eat slow.

To show you how to put together a delectable meal that celebrates what’s naturally available in Miami right now, we asked Conor Hanlon, Executive Chef at The Dutch, and Josh Gripper, the Pastry Chef there, to whip up some of their favorite dishes for a special dinner in honor of Indulge’s Time Issue.

We held the affair at the Coconut Grove home of Daniel Graeff and his wife, Renee Frigo Graeff, who’s the president of Slow Food Miami, which this year bestowed upon Hanlon and Gripper its prestigious Snail of Approval award. The Graeffs also happen to own the Lucini Italia Company, a Miami-based firm dedicated to creating handcrafted foods inspired by the culinary traditions of Italy. With so much scrumptiousness swirling about, it couldn’t help but be a deliciously beautiful evening. Read on for details about how you can do something similar at home.

IN-SEASON COCKTAIL

There’s nothing like a cocktail to get a dinner party going. With seasonal fruit, this one tapped into the evening’s fresh theme.

1 ½ parts Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka 3/4 part fresh-pressed orange juice 1/2 teaspoon sugar 2 fresh-pressed strawberries 1 part club soda basil, for garnish   With a citrus press or squeeze of the hand, press orange to release juice into a glass filled with ice. Add the Le Citron Flavored Vodka, sugar and strawberries. Stir vigorously, and top with club soda. Present with strawberries and a sprig of basil.

CITRUS & VODKA CURED HAMACHI

Zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes and 1 orange 2 Tbsp. coriander seed 2 Tbsp. fennel seed 5 Tbsp. salt 1 Tbsp. cilantro stems 4 Tbsp. sugar 3 1/2 Tbsp. vodka 1 Tbsp. citrus juice 1 lb hamachi side or fillets, skinned Citrus segments, for garnish Fresh hearts of palm (available at local select local farmer’s markets), shaved, for garnish ½ of an avocado, thinly sliced, for garnish Extra virgin olive oil (Chef Hanlon used Lucini’s Delicate Lemon), for garnish

1. Mix all ingredients together to make a paste.

2. Lay out three sheets of plastic wrap making sure they are larger than the fish by about six inches on either end, overlapping them horizontally. Place about half of the salt paste on the plastic, then place the hamachi on top. Cover with the remaining paste. Wrap, and cure for 6 hours in the refrigerator.

3. Remove hamachi from salt paste and wash thoroughly. Place on a roasting rack on a sheet tray and leave uncovered in the refrigerator until dry and slightly sticky, about 2 to 3 hours. Wrap with plastic and reserve until ready to serve.

4. To serve, slice on a bias as thin as possible. Garnish with citrus segments, shaved hearts of palm and avocado and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serves 6.

Pair with: Brundlmayer Gruner Veltliner Kampatler Terrassen, 2008, Austria.

OLIVE OIL POACHED HALIBUT

Extra virgin olive oil (Chef Hanlon used Lucini Premium Select) 1/2 of a head of garlic Zest of 1 lemon 2 thyme sprigs 1 rosemary sprig 6 filets of fresh Halibut Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1. In a large straight-sided fry pan over low heat, pour about two inches of olive oil, enough to cover the filets.

2. Prepare a sachet. Place the garlic, lemon zest, and herb sprigs in the center of a large piece of cheesecloth. Wrap and tie well with kitchen twine. Add to the olive oil and allow to steep for about 20 minutes.

3. Remove the halibut from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Submerge the halibut in the infused olive oil being careful not overcrowd the pan. Poach the fish on very low heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Gently lift it out of the olive oil and season with sea salt and lemon juice.

5. To serve, garnish with roasted mushrooms, English peas and crispy bacon lardon. Serves 6.

Pair with: Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir, 2009, California.

ROASTED FLORIDA PEACHES WITH OLIVE OIL ICE CREAM

3 peaches, cut in half, seed removed 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1 cup orange juice Zest of 1/2 of a lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place sugar and water in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Continue cooking until the syrup becomes a dark amber. Pour the orange juice into the pot slowly, and continue cooking until the sugar has melted fully. Add lemon zest.

2. Place the peaches in a roasting dish and pour the caramel syrup over them. Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are soft but not mushy. Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use. Serves 6.

OLIVE OIL ICE CREAM

2 cups whole milk 2 cups heavy cream 1/2cup of olive oil (Chef Gripper used Lucini Premium Select) 1 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt 9 egg yolks

1. Place milk, cream and olive oil in a large pot with half of the sugar and the salt over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl. When the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat.

2. Temper the eggs by adding just a few teaspoons of the hot milk at a time as you whisk continuously. Doing this prevents the eggs from cooking. Keep adding milk in a slow and steady stream until it’s fully incorporated.

3. Return the egg and milk mixture to the pot and cook on low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and place in another large bowl. Place bowl over an ice bath. Let the custard cool completely, then refrigerate over night. Churn in a home ice cream machine the next day. To serve, top peaches with a dollop of ice cream and garnish with assorted berries. Drizzle with olive oil. Makes 6 servings, with plenty of leftovers.

Pair dessert with: Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta, 2011, Italy.

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