Cook’s Corner

Mystery fruit could be nance or persimmon, readers suggest

 

Sleuth’s Corner

Q. Does anyone have a recipe for the barbecue made at the A&W Root Beer stand on Madison Street in Eau Claire, Wis., back in the 1960s? They were the best-tasting anywhere.

B. Chamberlain


Main dish

Spartico’s Cacciucco Livornese (Italian Seafood Stew)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, or to taste, minced

1/2 cup medium diced celery

1/2 cup thin sliced carrots

1/2 cup medium diced red onions

1/2 cup shaved fennel

1 cup white wine

8 peeled raw shrimp

8 green-lipped mussels

8 clams

1 pound fresh Florida snapper, cut into 8 portions

16 calamari rings

3/4 cup medium diced plum tomatoes

1 cup tomato sauce

1 pinch crushed red pepper

4 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs

1/2 bunch chopped Italian parsley

1 cup seafood stock (lobster preferred)

1/2 cup Kalamata olives

Salt and pepper to taste

4 sliced grilled focaccia bread

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and garlic and stir. Immediately add celery, carrots, onions and fennel and stir for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, loosening any browned bits.

Add the seafood all at once and cook until the wine evaporates completely. Add the tomato and tomato sauce and stir gently. Add the crushed pepper, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Cover the pan, lower heat and simmer 2 minutes. Add stock and olives and cook 2 more minutes longer. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately with the focaccia. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 375 calories 22 percent from fat, 9.3g fat (1.5 g saturated, 4.4 g monounsaturated), 106 mg cholesterol, 38.5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 3.8g fiber, 1065 mg sodium.


Dessert

Craboo (Nance) with Sweetened Condensed Milk

4 cups craboo, mashed

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Combine the craboo and sweetened condensed milk. Chill thoroughly. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 255 calories, 24 percent from fat, 5.8g fat (3.6 g saturated, 1.6 g monounsaturated), 23 mg cholesterol, 5.7 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 85 mg sodium.


Bread

My Pi’s Garlic Bread

1/4 pound butter, softened

3 garlic cloves, minced

10 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

1 loaf French bread (about 1 pound)

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Whip butter with whisk until light and creamy. Blend in garlic and cheese. Cut bread diagonally into thick slices. Do not cut through; leave slices attached to crust. Fill space between slices with butter and cheese mixture. Wrap in foil and heat through, 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 12 slices.

Per slice: 238 calories 46 percent from fat, 12 g fat (7.4 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated), 35 mg cholesterol, 10 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 408 mg sodium.


LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com

Ana asked if anyone could provide information about a fruit she remembered gathering as a young girl in Cuba and the pudding her mother made from it. We received some intriguing suggestions as to what the fruit may be, and the recipe here, but so far I have not found a source for the fruit.

“I believe the fruit she described is known as craboo, or sometimes nance, and it comes from a tree that grows all over the Caribbean,” says Judy, a former Miamian.

“It is pretty common here in Belize, either fresh or you can buy it frozen, but don’t know where you would find it in South Florida. I don’t really like it by itself, but everyone makes it into this pudding, and you can even buy a rum made with it.”

An anonymous reader suggested a similar spelling: “It is called nancite fruit, and it can be found growing wild in Nicaragua and a lot of other tropical countries. It comes in clusters on a bush and has a very distinctive aroma, which a lot of people don’t like, and the fruit is a little tart, which is why it is usually made into drinks and puddings. You can find it frozen in bags in markets that cater to Latin and South Americans. The whole fruit is frozen.”

Francis McPhee has a different thought: “When I saw Ana’s question in Sleuth’s Corner I felt sure the tiny apple-shaped fruit she remembered was Diospyros Virginiana, our native North American persimmon. It is delicious fresh or made into a pudding”

McPhee says the fruit grows wild here as well as in Cuba. “Being a native, it takes care of itself and will grow from seed, but I would suggest buying a grafted plant, which is sure to be female. … I bought my grafted tree at a South Dade nursery (it may have been a native plant nursery). This is one of my favorite fruits and unfortunately I have never seen it for sale.”

Q. I would like to find either a recipe for or the location, if one exists, for a My Pi pizza. They used to be up on the Sunny Isles Causeway.

Bob Collins

Alas, it appears there is just one My Pi left on the planet and it is in the Chicago area. It is a family-owned business in which the son is carrying on his father’s legacy, but under the name My Pie.

At one point, My Pi, which opened in 1971, had restaurants in nine states. A bit of research turns up lots of folks who miss the signature deep-dish pizza and other specialties. (My Pi is said to have been the first to take deep-dish out of Chicago and into the hinterlands of America.)

I found the garlic bread recipe here in a nostalgic 2009 column in The Tulsa Oklahoma World by Nicole Marshall Middleton, which reprised recipes from a local My Pi that first ran in 1977.

“Some Tulsa restaurants, though long gone, will forever be part of the Tulsa foodie landscape,” Middleton wrote.

You can, happily, either check out the My Pie in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago next time you’re in the area, or you can have a pizza on dry ice delivered anywhere. The website, complete with a My Pi history, is at mypiepizza.com.

Q. There is a dish at Spartico at the Mayfair I just love, made with all kinds of seafood in a tomato sauce you just have to dip your bread into to get every last bit. Can you tell me how to make it?

The seafood stew is on the restaurant’s Miami Spice menu, available through September, but happily, executive chef Dario Correa shared the recipe so you can make it anytime. You can take advantage of whatever seafood strikes your fancy at the market, or follow his lead.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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