Miami mangoes were still on chef Floyd Cardoz’s mind when his wife asked him to mix her a drink.
He had just returned to New York from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, when he, a four-time James Beard award-winning chef at his Tabla, North End Grill and Paowalla, was lounging around their house. His thoughts immediately went to two staples of Miami culture: mangoes and mojitos.
“I was still remembering drinking a cocktail with mango in it, and I started experimenting,” he said.
The result was Barkha’s Mango-Pomegranate Cocktail, named for his wife. And they loved the drink so much he put the recipe in his new book, Flavorwalla, which he will launch Tuesday in, of all places, Miami. Chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz, a friend of Cardoz’s, will host his signing at Harry’s Pizzeria in the Design District.
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The flavors and feel of Miami, with its heat and humidity and bustling streets, take Cardoz back to his native India, where he was raised Goan Catholic on the west coast, eating many of the same ingredients familiar to Miamians.
His family roasts whole pigs on Easter, Christmas and for special celebrations — like his own son’s graduation. He became a master with mango. And he was accustomed to using a sometimes-challenging ingredient that so often ends up on Miami Lenten Friday tables or in croquetas, bacalao (salt cod).
“You need it during the monsoon season when fresh fish isn’t always available because the fishing boat can’t go out,” he said.
The cod dish he includes in Flavorwalla, Cod, Cockles and Linguiça Stew, is a spirit cousin to the local iteration, what he calls a “game-day dish” he quickly whips up for friends at his house to watch the Giants or the Mets on television. The bulk of the preparation can be done up to a day in advance, he writes.
“It’s so uncomplicated and easy to prepare. Plus, you can do just about everything in advance, right up until cooking the fish and clams,” writes Cardoz, who recently won Bravo TV’s third season of Top Chef Masters.
When in Miami, Cardoz likes to eat like a Miamian. That means a mandatory trip to his favorite Cuban spot, Puerto Sagua> on South Beach, for oxtail.
“Oh, you have to go to that Cuban place and get that oxtail,” he said.
For years his wife, Barkha, has tried to convince him to move to Miami, where he finds diners are more adventurous than in New York. With the way the food scene is growing, it may be hard to resist.
“People are more open to interesting food,” he said, “and there’s a lot of interesting food in Miami.”
If you go
What: Chef Floyd Cardoz launches his book, ‘Flavorwalla,’ with a four-course, wine-paired dinner that includes a signed copy of his book.
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Cost: $150 a person.
Info: Tickets can be purchased online, http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2524010
Cod, Cockles and Linguiça Stew
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces linguiça, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds, pounded in a mortar with a pestle
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, pounded in a mortar with a pestle
One 1/4-inch piece dried chipotle chile, very thinly sliced crosswise
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 fennel bulb (fine fronds reserved), trimmed, cored, and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 2 cups)
3 cups White Fish Stock (recipe follows)
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon turmeric
One 6-inch rosemary sprig
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 1½ pounds) or one 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, preferably Muir Glen brand, with their juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Six 4-ounce pieces skin-on cod
1 1/2 pounds cockles, scrubbed
Leaves from 2 tarragon sprigs
Preheat the oven to 375. In a 12-inch chicken fryer pan or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the linguiça and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, coriander, chipotle and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spices are fragrant and the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the onion and diced fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the stock, wine, turmeric and rosemary, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover the pot, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Taste and add sea salt and pepper to taste; be careful not to oversalt, though, as the cockles will add brininess. (The dish can be prepared to this point up to a day in advance. Preheat the oven and reheat the stew in the same pot before continuing with the recipe.)
Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place the fish skin side down on top of the stew and the cockles on top of the fish. Transfer to the oven and cook until the fish is opaque throughout and the cockles are open, 13 to 15 minutes. Place a piece of fish in each of six wide shallow bowls. Remove the rosemary sprig from the stew and gently stir in the tarragon. Ladle the stew and clams around the fish. Sprinkle each serving with some of the reserved fennel fronds.
Yield: Serves 6
Barkha’s Mango-Pomegranate Cocktail
4 ounces dark rum
6 ounces pomegranate juice
6 ounces mango juice
Juice of 1 lime
2 lime slices for garnish
2 large slices candied ginger, threaded on cocktail picks, for garnish
Half-fill two tall highball glasses with crushed ice. Divide the rum between the glasses. Pour over the pomegranate juice. Then pour over the mango juice and then the lime juice. Top off each glass with club soda. Garnish each drink with a slice of lime and candied ginger and serve.
Yield: Serves 2