Key West Chefs
Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Skewers & Red-lentil Crusted Halibut
Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Skewers
8 mild sausages, such as sweet Italian
3 large yellow, orange, or red bell peppers, sliced into ¾-inch wedges
2 small yellow onions, cut into 1/2 –inch wedges
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
8 metal or wooden skewers
2 cups merlot
8 tablespoons grain or Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
Directions For Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Skewers:
Pierce sausage casings with a fork and blanch in lightly salted, boiling water for about 5 minutes. Remove from water and allow sausages to cool slightly. Slice each diagonally into 3-4 bite-sized pieces. Skewer sausage, peppers, and onions and brush with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place under broiler for 7-10 minutes, until vegetables appear tender and are slightly charred.
Arrange on a platter with merlot-mustard on the side. Skewers can be served alone, or offered as the basis of a serious sandwich.
For Merlot-Mustard: Place merlot in a small, non-reactive pan and reduce it down to about 2 tablespoons. Allow to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, reduced wine, and salt. Set aside. Makes about 1/2 cup. Serves 8.
1 cup (about 5 ounces) pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups leeks, finely chopped
¾ cup celery, finely chopped
¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 ¾ pounds new or red-skinned potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
4 cups good-quality chicken stock
3 cups half and half or whole milk
3 cups corn kernels
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound seasonal mushrooms (chanterelles, morels, or crimini) thickly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound crabmeat
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Directions: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and allow to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the pan drippings. Add onion, leeks, celery, and fennel seeds to pot. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes. Add cream and stock and simmer—stirring occasionally—about 10 minutes, until potatoes are almost tender. Add corn and simmer another 5 minutes or so, until potatoes become tender. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and thyme. Add this mixture to the chowder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté crabmeat in mushroom skillet over medium heat until heated through, about 3 minutes. Place a heaping tablespoon of pancetta at bottom of each serving bowl and ladle chowder over. Garnish with crabmeat and parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6-8.
Red-lentil Crusted Halibut
The surprising flavor of curry, the richness of butternut squash, and our Napa Valley Private Reserve Chardonnay defines a whole new level of "comfort food."
.2 pounds halibut, cut into 6 skinless fillets
¼ cup red lentils, processed into fine flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch each cayenne and paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Special equipment: spice grinder
Curry Oil…The unusual addition of curry oil sets this dish completely apart from most other seafood recipes. Note that the oil needs to infuse with the other ingredients for at least 4-6 hours, so it’s advisable to make it in advance (it can easily set, refrigerated, for a week)
½ cup corn oil
½ teaspoon minced shallot
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
Special equipment: Fine-mesh sieve
Butternut-squash Puree…A rich and flavorful alternative to rice or potatoes, this naturally sweet puree is a wonderfully surprising foil to the halibut. Allow a 2-ounce serving per person, a little goes a long way.
2 pounds butternut squash, roughly 2 cups once processed
2 tablespoons corn oil
¾ cup heavy cream
2 Pinches cayenne pepper
¼ Teaspoon salt
Special equipment: food processor, fine-mesh sieve or food mill
Directions For Red-lentil Crusted Halibut:
Preheat oven to 400º. Mix the flours and seasonings in a small dish. Salt and pepper both sides of fish. Dip one side of fish into flour mixture. Coat a hot, non-stick skillet with olive oil and place fish crust-side down. Leave fish alone for a least two minutes, then use a spatula to gently lift fish to check for color. The crust should be a light golden-brown before turning for an additional minute. Remove fish from skillet and place in an oven-proof dish. Place in oven for about 3 minutes, until fish is just cooked through.
For Curry Oil: Over medium-low heat, sauté shallot and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the corn oil for 4-5 minutes. Add curry powder and salt and toast for another 20 seconds, until just fragrant, stirring constantly. Add ½ of remaining oil and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat and add the final portion of oil, whisking well. Transfer to a blender and pulse for about 10 seconds. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, then strain through a fine, mesh sieve. Before serving, allow oil to come to room temperature. Drizzle oil on plate or over fish, whatever is your preference.
For Butternut-squash Puree: Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut squash in half, lengthwise, and remove any seeds or membranes. Oil squash and place cut-side down in a baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until very soft. Remove squash from oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from skin and puree in a food processor. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve or food mill. This step can be prepared the day before and refrigerated until right before serving. Bring cream to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until cream has reduced by about half. Carefully whisk in squash puree and season to taste. Warm through completely and serve immediately.
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