Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Mango-Chipotle BBQ Sauce – A Winner From Devonshire PGA

January 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

The Taste of Compassion event, recently held at CityPlace for the Quantum House, always produces a few “wow — I’ve got to have that recipe” moments for me.

Getting them is another matter. I know chefs and how they think — and even worse, how they write. Neither process is for the general public. I should make a lot more money than the pitiful sums I do to “translate” recipes from Chefspeak to actual Humanspeak.

At this year’s event, I tapped a couple of the chefs for their recipes, and they kindly obliged. Thankfully, they had culinary school training, and knew how to write out a recipe – a cheap thrill for a food writer!

Barbecue fans, listen up!

Chef Tim D'Antuono

First is a mango-chipotle barbecue sauce recipe from chef Tim D’Antuono, of Devonshire at PGA National. I’ve known this chef for some time, and admire his talent, but don’t write about him usually because a) Devonshire’s fine restaurants at the “life care retirement resort” are not open to the public (a huge shame) and b) I’ve never eaten at Devonshire – but had their leftovers because c) it’s where my boyfriend works, and I want to avoid conflict-of-interest chatter.

But since they aren’t open to the public, and I’m never going to review them, as a friend points out, what difference does it make what I write about them? And, as my friend says, “It’s just a recipe already – get over it!” Okay – I did – and I talked to D’Antuono further.

What’s it like, I asked the chef, to head a kitchen at a place where menu creativity must often give way to the palates, whims and budgets of a corporation or committee?

Clubs and private venues are different

“It bothers me at times, sure. But the challenges are different — we’re feeding the same people every day, so we have to be on our game all the time. If we get stagnant or boring, we hear about it right away –firsthand. They tell us – loudly. It’s definitely instant gratification,” he said. The flip side is the praise, or getting requests for different item.

I could see where it would be his barbecue sauce — a tomato-based sauce (ketchup has its uses) that I would translate for Super Bowl parties. It can go on chicken (aren’t we truly tired of Buffalo wings?), ribs, sausages, or shrimp. Shrimp (could go on scallops, too) are the best choice, I believe, because their saltiness counteracts some of the sauce’s sweetness. The chef served it on a nicely grilled tenderloin with a jicama slaw that also provided a taste counterpoint.

Table dressers

Booth presentations are equally important for most of the chefs — they’re limited by their table space as to what they can do, but at Devonshire, like so many other large venues, they serve a lot of banquets and parties, and need a garde manger. In the kitchen batallion, this is the pantry supervisor and the one who oversees the cold foods — salads, hors d’ouevres, aspic presentations, ice or butter sculptures and food carvings. They’re usually the “dressers” of the food tables as well.

Tom Lutz, Devonshire garde manger

Tom Lutz, Devonshire garde manger

Tom Lutz handles this at Devonshire, and did these clever melon carvings for the event. The beauty of melons vs. ice is obvious — ice is temporary and requires a large display space because of the drip pan.

Upstairs at the event held at the Harriet Himmel Theater, Christopher Spitz, the executive sous chef at The Fountains, came up with a great recipe that will satisfy those looking for a gluten-free side dish. His chickpea fries, served with a “deconstructed” gyro, were terrific — and would make a great finger food for a cocktail party, as well.

Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Flour

“I use a special chickpea flour you can get at Publix, or GreenWise, that’s gluten-free. You make the dough with the flour, milk and seasonings, chill it, then cut it into batons. Roll them in a little corn meal and fry them up — I use a deep-fryer. They’re really good with sandwiches — a nice change from sweet potato fries or another type of fried veg,” Spitz said.

The product he uses is actually a garbanzo-fava bean flour mix, and is produced by Bob’s Red Mill — a company that makes a number of gluten-free baking and cooking mixes (even a chocolate chip cookie one).

I plan to serve these “fries” at my next party with a few dips like tzatziki sauce, a piri-piri sauce, or even D’Antuono’s barbecue sauce.

Breakers chefs Anthony Sicignano and Neeraj Mahani

Breakers chefs Anthony Sicignano and Neeraj Mahani

There were a number of other dishes that I didn’t get the recipes for — they wouldn’t be too hard to adapt from other ones, though. The Breakers was represented by chefs Anthony Sicignano and Neeraj Mahani, who brought a dish from Mahani’s birthplace, New Delhi, India. It was a nicely spiced chicken vindaloo — a traditional Indian one-pot stew that is chock full of flavor. (Go to Aayi’s recipe blog to get a  traditional Goan recipe for the vindaloo.)

Sicignano and I also talked about the new Top of the Point — the old Governor’s Club on top of Phillips Point in downtown West Palm Beach. The Breakers took it over this fall; it’s open to the public at dinner.

“It’s a comfort-food menu and has a lot of favorites on it with a very reasonable price-point,” the chef told me. “A lot of people have found it  and keep coming back.” Read more about that in an upcoming EatBeat column.

Talay Thai joins the event

Charlie Soo, left, of Talay Thai

Charlie Soo, left, of Talay Thai

Charlie Soo and his crew from Talay Thai restaurant, near the Turnpike on PGA, was a newcomer to the Taste of Compassion, and brought his homeland’s traditional Panaang curry. The peanuty curry is one of our favorites — and his version is delicious. His family owns one of the most popular Thai restaurants in Atlanta, Ga., Nan Thai – he knows a thing about this cuisine.

Also upstairs, chef Tom Stott of Mariner Sands Golf & Country Club made a green tea-smoked shrimp served on wild rice that was quite smoky. “I emptied the tea bags over the wood and used it to smoke the shrimp. It took about 40 minutes in the cold smoker,” he said. I’d go with about 30 minutes; the smoke flavor was ultra-powerful.

The recipes

Mango-chipotle barbecue sauce

Note: makes 1 gallon sauce; divide as you like.

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Cajun spice (Paul Pruhomme’s)
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 24 ounces white vinegar
  • 3 quarts ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 oune dried chipotle chilies (hydrated)
  • 3 ripe mangoes, peeled and pitted

Combine all ingredients except chipotles and mangoes  in large bowl or pot. Put chipotles and mangoes in a blender, and add a half-cup barbecue sauce; blend till smoothly pureed. Stir mango mixture back into the barbecue sauce. Refrigerate or freeze.

Gluten-free chickpea “fries”

From Fountains’ chef Christopher Spitz

  • 2-1/3 cups milk
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/8 teaspoon ceyanne pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 pound chickpea flour — see note
    2 tablespoons corn meal
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

     Bring milk to boil with parsely, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings.
     Add chickpea flour and beat until thick and smooth.
     Cook over low heat until thickened, and pour into a 7×12 (or rectanglular) baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for six hours or until set.
     Turn out on corn meal-dusted board and cut into 2-by-1/4-by-1/4-inch batons with a wet knife.
   Deep fry in a skillet or pot at 350 degrees until golden brown; remove to paper toweling to drain. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Chef’s notes: These are great with lamb dishes and for gluten free diets. I use Bob’s Red Mill chickpea-fava bean mix to make these.

Technique notes:

Deep frying means adding a food to a pot of boiling oil, giving the foods enough room to move as they fry. This ensures crispness on all sides. Fry in batches, never crowding a pan. Take extra care when deep frying: Gently drop foods into the oil to prevent splattering; adjust heat to prevent flash-ups; and never leave a pot of oil unattended. Move the oil completely off the stove when finished frying.


Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking! · Talking Tables · The Eat Beat: Restaurant News · Uncategorized

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