Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cheeca Lodge Snapper

Cheeca Lodge & Spa at Islamorada in the Florida Keys, long has been a destination for serious anglers with a taste for the laid-back, luxe life.

The facility closed for remodeling and re-opened in December with a new concept chef, Dean James Max. Known for his modern American seafood, he's been recognized as a "Great Regional Chef of America" by the James Beard Foundation.

That won't mean a thing, though, if the fish isn't good.

Reading through the ingredients and prep of the snapper recipe he shares with us, I'd say you can count on the fish being superb.

Pan Roasted Florida Red Snapper with Boniato Puree, Globe Carrots and Orange Cumin Sauce

Serves 6

6 7-oz snapper fillets
2 bunches green onions
2 dozen baby carrots
2 TBS. Extra virgin olive oil
Heat a heavy cast iron or cold steel pan over a medium high flame. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and let it get hot. Season fish with salt and pepper. Place fillets skin side down in the pan, saute for two minutes and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the fish for an additional four minutes, flipping it over for the last minute. The snapper will continue to cook as you plate and bring to the table.

Plunge the green onions into boiling salted water for 20 seconds then transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Do the same with the peeled baby carrots, adding an extra minute of cooking time. When ready to serve, warm them up in a saucepan with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, salt and pepper.

For Boniato
[Note: A Boniato potato is a white-fleshed sweet potato with a taste that has been described as a cross between a baking and a sweet potato and chestnuts.]
3 lbs. Boniato
1/4 lb. butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 lemons
Peel and place potatoes in salted water with the juice of one lemon. Boil until the potato is tender. Strain immediately and pass it through a sieve or just mash. Bring cream to a boil. Fold the cold butter into the potatoes until it is incorporated. Add the boiling cream and season with salt and pepper. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

For Orange Cumin Sauce
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cups fresh carrot juice
1 TBS. coriander seeds
3 TBS. cumin seeds
2 TBS. garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
4 TBS. butter
1 lime
In a saucepan over medium heat lightly saute the chopped shallots and garlic. De-glaze with orange and carrot juice and bring to a boil. While waiting, toast the cumin and coriander in a dry pan and blend into powder in a spice grinder. Add the spices to the boiling juices. Reduce by half and add the chicken stock. Reduce the mixture by half again. Whisk in the butter, juice of one lime and season with salt and pepper.


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