A chronicle of my life in recipes. I love to cook, but more importantly I love to eat. The food you cook and eat tells a story of where you were raised and the path you have traveled. This is my story . . .

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Summer on Fort Lauderdale Beach

As always on a recent family trip to Fort Lauderdale, we hit all our favorite food places. I have listed a few in the past, but will list a few more here along with a collage of some of the dishes and items we love. I am also including a recipe, pictured in the center. A long time favorite of Beep and mine is Cafe Maxx. A staple on their menu for 15 plus years is a snapper dish that I happened to score the recipe for while creating the Junior League cookbook in 1999. The dish is a compilation of 4 parts, the fish, the onion compote, the sauce and the garnish. (Preparation, therefore, is done in stages). I don't bother with the waffle potato chip garnish at home, but they are wonderful!

5 Large red onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 T. Olive oil
1/2 C Brown sugar
1/3 C Balsamic vinegar
3 T Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

4 Yellowtail Snapper fillets
2 T Olive oil
Salt & Pepper, to lightly season fish

1 Shallot, minced
1/4 C Butter
1/4 C Madeira
1 T Lemon juice
3/4 C Whipping cream
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Large russet potato, peeled & waffle cut on a mandoline
Canola oil for frying

Begin with the potato if you are going to make it, thinly slice the potato on your mandoline. Heat an inch of oil in a deep skillet and fry the waffle chips until brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt while they are still hot. You can prepare these up to a day before and store airtight.

Next, the onions. Heat a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sliced onion rings to the pan. Saute, stirring occasionally until caramelized. Caramelize slowly over medium low until dark brown. Add the sugar and vinegar to the pan and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper. These can also be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Reheat over low heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

The fish and the sauce need to be prepared right before serving the dish. Saute the butter and the shallot in the butter until the shallots are tender and slightly caramelized. Heat pan to medium and add the wine and lemon juice, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Allow the sauce to reduce by about half. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper and simmer 30 minutes on low heat, stirring often.
Meanwhile begin to prepare the fish and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cooking time for the fish will depend on the size of your fillets so check a food chart or ask your fishmonger. I like my fish with a crispy crust, flaky and slightly dry on the inside, so possibly too well done for some. Pat the fish dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat an oven proof skillet over high heat add olive oil and then the fish, sear fish quickly on both sides then place the pan in the oven to finish cooking.
To Serve:
Spoon several tablespoons of the Madeira sauce in the center of each plate, top with a snapper fillet, top fish with caramelized onion and potato chip.

Other favorites pictured above, from upper left corner moving clockwise:
Steamed Clams, Cafe Maxx Turkey Gruyere Mushroom Bechamel Crepe, La Bonne Crepe Foie Gras, Cafe Maxx Gumbo, Chez Porky's Assortment of Cookies, The Cookie Shop AKA, "The Cookie Lady" to those who have been visiting for years, Chili dogs and a 3 way, Skyline Chili Creme Brulee, Cafe Maxx Curry and Raspberry wings, Chez Porky's Turkey Hogie, Lapada's
Not pictured, but equally wonderful places to eat while in Fort Lauderdale: Peter Pan Diner, Wings & Things, Kelly's Landing, Chuck's Steak House & Il Mulino

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