Monday, January 18, 2016



Introducing..........Veg-centric

In studying food trends for 2016, I came across an interesting notion that I feel will be an exciting change to the dining scene.

The trend is called veg-centric. The principle behind the movement is that vegetables will play a more prominent role on restaurant menus. I'm not talking about vegetarian cuisine, it's more about vegetables being presented in interesting ways. No longer will vegetables be an afterthought or simply a side dish to an entree. They will become the star of the plate with an equal role to the proteins with which they are served.

In preparation for our spring menu, we developed a few dishes that illustrate this trend.  
Crab Remoulade and garnishes
Hawaiian Poke

This is Avocado Marble.  It's a mixture of ripe Hass avocados, green onions, cilantro, fresh lime juice, extra virgin Olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. The mixture is vacuum sealed, partially frozen, the neatly cut and plated. It can be garnished with a variety of ingredients. On the left, the marble is topped with Crab Remoulade and garnishes with gaufrette potatoes. On the right, the marble is plated with Hawaiian Poke. Raw, sushi grade tuna marinated in soy, sesame oil, spices and chiles. It's garnished with wonton crisps.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make avocado marble. Give it a try and have fun with the garnishes. Hope you enjoy it!

Ciao,
Chef Joe

P.S. - Look for these dishes at one of our restaurants in the near future.


Avocado Marble

4 each Ripe Avocado, peeled, seed removed, diced 1/4"
1 cup Green Onion, sliced 1/4"
1 cup Fresh Cilantro, rough chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste

1)  Combine all ingredients in a stainless mixing bowl and fold with a spatula until evenly combined.


 2) Place the mixture in a heavy gauge 11" x 7" plastic bag. 


3) Wipe the opening of the bag with a clean towel.





4) Vacuum seal the bag following the manufactures instructions.





5) Using a flat sheet tray, press down on the marble to create a smooth even surface. Place in the freezer for about and hour.




6) Using a sharp knife, remove the edges of the bag, peel off the top of the bag and cut into desired shape.




For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood facebook.com/#!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:

Big Fish Dearborn, MI  - facebook.com/BigFishDearborn
Big Fish Princeton, NJ   - facebook.com/BigFishPrincetonNJ
Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI - facebook.com/CharleysCrabGR
Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI - facebook.com/GandyDancer
Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GrandConcourse
Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GandyDancerSaloon
Meriwether's, Southfield, MI - facebook.com/Meriwethers
River Crab, St Clair, MI - facebook.com/RiverCrab

Thursday, October 15, 2015

'Tis the Season
 Today is October 15th and one of my favorite days of the year.  It's opening day of the Florida Stone Crab season. The weather has been really nice here and the water temperature is warm so we're not expecting a banner start to the season.

I wrote this post a while back and thought I would share it again. It's a little long but offers some fun facts and insight as to how this resource had become a multi million dollar industry.  Enjoy the season and eat some crab!


Ciao,
Chef Joe

‘Tis the season………
Stone Crab season, that is.

Stone Crab Claws
Being a long time Florida resident, I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to the beautiful resource that has just become available.  In this post we will explore the history and lore of Stone Crabs, some fun facts and my absolute favorite way to serve them.

Now for a bit of history…………..

I’d like to introduce you to the “Everglades icon”, Loren G. “Totch” Brown.  Totch was born on March 12, 1920.  He lived his entire life in the area known as the Ten Thousand Islands.  Totch survived off what the Everglades had to offer as a commercial fisherman and gator hunter.

On a spring day in the late 1930’s Totch had an epiphany.  Tired of having his fishing nets tangled and ruined by these numerous, strange looking crabs, he decided to keep one.  He cooked it, ate it, and a new commercial industry was born.

He quickly met with his uncle, “Dollar” Bill.  In a matter of minutes, they devised a plan. The two worked diligently and quickly built several hundred wooden crab traps.  They set out on the water and their first haul resulted in many large burlap sacks full of crabs.

 “Dollar” Bill loaded the sacks into his truck and headed east.  His destination: a lunch counter in Miami Beach. He met with the owner, a gentleman named Joe Weiss.  Mr. Weiss purchased the crabs for forty cents a pound and put them on his menu.  That restaurant today is known as Joe’s Stone Crab.

Some fun facts about Stone Crabs……..

         Stone Crabs have two distinctly different claws. A large one known as the crusher claw and a smaller one known as the pincer claw. The crusher claw is the only one allowed to legally be harvested.

         Legal minimum size for a claw is 2 ½” in length, measured from the first joint. The smallest legal claw weighs about 2 ½ ounces.  The largest claw harvested on record weighed 25 pounds.

         Once the claw is removed, the crab is returned to the water. It will grow a new legal size claw in approximately 12 to 14 months.

         Claws are cooked as quickly as possible (many times right on the boat).  This prevents the meat from sticking to the shell.  Another reason for the meat sticking to the shell is improper freezing of the claw. Keep that in mind the next time you buy claws for the local supermarket.

How to crack a Stone Crab Claw:

1.      Hold the claw in the palm of your hand.  Using the back of a pasta spoon, sharply hit the center of the claw.  This will cause the shell to crack.  Remember, we are cracking claws not smashing them. Turn the claw over and repeat.

2.    Now, rotate the claw in the palm of you hand so as the first and second knuckle drape over your index finger.  Again with the back of the spoon, crack the first and second knuckle (of the crab………).

The best way to serve these beauties is a simple as possible.  I prefer ice cold cracked claws served in a platter over crushed ice that is garnished with a few strands of blanched seaweed.  The sauce of choice and tradition is mustard sauce.  Here’s a recipe for mustard sauce that was made famous by Joe’s Stone Crab.

Mustard Sauce Yields: 4 ¾ cups

Mayonnaise                         3 cups
Dijon Mustard                    1 ¾ cups
English Dry Mustard          1 Tbl.
Fresh Lemon Juice             2 Tbl.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry mustard and lemon juice; blend with a wire whip until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the mustard to “bloom” for 20 minutes. Add the Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and again, blend well with a wire whip.  Store refrigerated until ready for use.

The season only last until may 15th so get crackin’. Let me know how they come out.

Ciao,
Chef Joe


For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood facebook.com/#!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:

Big Fish Dearborn, MI  - facebook.com/BigFishDearborn
Big Fish Princeton, NJ   - facebook.com/BigFishPrincetonNJ
Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI - facebook.com/CharleysCrabGR
Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI - facebook.com/GandyDancer
Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GrandConcourse
Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GandyDancerSaloon
Meriwether's, Southfield, MI - facebook.com/Meriwethers
River Crab, St Clair, MI - facebook.com/RiverCrab


Monday, October 5, 2015

The Flavors of Fall

Now that fall is upon as and the weather begins to cool, thoughts turn to the comfort foods of slow braised meats and hearty stews. 

At Landry's Seafood we are celebrating the season with just such dishes. One dish is quickly becoming our guest's favorite, our Bayou Fisherman's Stew. It's a tomato based seafood stew that takes on a flavor of the Gulf coast. 

The ingredients include many items indigenous to the area and the method of preparation is similar in the way that gumbo is prepared. I hope you enjoy the stew, I'm certain it's just what the doctor ordered on a chilly fall evening.

Bayou Fisherman's Stew

Ciao,
Chef Joe

Bayou Fisherman's Stew

2 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb. Andouille Sausage, half moon bias cut 1/4" thick
1/4 cup Flour
1 Tbl. Minced Garlic
1/2 each Yellow Onion, diced 1/4"
1 each Red Pepper, diced 1/4"
1 each Green Pepper, diced 1/4"
1 1/4 tsp. Blackening Spice
1 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 cup Shrimp Stock (can substitute bottled clam juice)
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes with Juice,  hand torn into 1" pieces
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
24 Black Mussels, cleaned
1 lb. Firm Flesh White Fish (such as Mahi Mahi), cut into 1 1/2" pieces
12 Large Scallops
12 Large Shrimp
1/4 lb. Crawfish Tails
1 Tbl. butter
Steamed White Rice
Crusty French Bread

1)   In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the andouille and cook until the sausage has rendered its fat, approx. 4 minutes.

2) Add the flour and stir well to make a roux.  Add the garlic and vegetables and stir well.  Cook for approx. 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Add the spices, stir well and cook for one minute.

4) Add the tomatoes with juice, wine, and stock. Stir well until smooth in consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minuets while covered.

5) Add the mussels to the stew and cook for 4-5 minutes. When the mussels begin to open, add the remaining seafood, stir well, cover and cook until the seafood is cooked through and firm to the touch, approx. 5-6 minutes. Add the butter and stir until completely melted. 

6) Divide the stew and seafood between 4 large soup bowls. Serve with steamed white rice and crusty French bread for dipping. Garnish with chopped chives. 

For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood facebook.com/#!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:

Big Fish Dearborn, MI  - facebook.com/BigFishDearborn

Big Fish Princeton, NJ   - facebook.com/BigFishPrincetonNJ

Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI - facebook.com/CharleysCrabGR

Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI - facebook.com/GandyDancer

Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GrandConcourse

Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GandyDancerSaloon

Meriwether's, Southfield, MI - facebook.com/Meriwethers

River Crab, St Clair, MI - facebook.com/RiverCrab


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's not just Lobster, it's Florida Spiny Lobster
The season is here!


Florida Spiny Lobster

The Florida Spiny Lobster season opened two weeks ago and the initial catches have been tremendous. I was lucky enough to be in the Florida Keys last weekend and probably/did consumed my body weight in lobster.  In this post, we'll take a look at this treasure from the sea and some of my favorite ways to prepare them. 

The Florida Spiny Lobster (also called Caribbean Spiny Lobster) season runs from mid August to the end of March. They are found in reefs in the coastal waters of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The commercial harvest averages about 6 million pounds with an annual value of over 20 million dollars. Measured in dollars, the spiny lobster fishery is the largest commercial fishery in Florida. Because of the warmth and salinity of the waters where they are found, they differ from a hard shell North Atlantic lobster. The meat is somewhat firmer and the flavor is slightly saltier.
Spiny lobsters are mostly nocturnal for safety reasons.  At night they feed on crabs and shrimp and during the day, the hide in crevasses in reefs for protection. 

Tickle Stick
When diving for spiny lobsters, you carry what's called a "tickle stick". You locate a lobster hiding in a hole then use this stick to tickle its under side, causing it to swim right out of the hole.  The stick also has markings on it used to measure the body of the lobster. From the front of the shell to just above the tail the  section must be 3" in length for the lobster to be legally harvested. 

My favorite way to prepare spiny lobster is either roasting or grilling. Baste the lobster meat with this recipe below and be generous. The
Half Split Lobster
extra fat will keep the lobster moist, tender and flavorful. 

If you're roasting a half split lobster, you can stuff the body cavity with your favorite crab stuffing.




Garlic & Parsley Butter Sauce
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Lemon, juiced
2 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbl. Flat leaf or Italian Parsley, chopped
Sea Salt to taste

In a small sauce pan, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic and cook while stirring, until golden in color. Remove from the heat and immediately add the lemon juice and chopped parsley.  Season the taste with good sea salt and enjoy!

Ciao,
Chef Joe



For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood facebook.com/#!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:
Big Fish Dearborn, MI  - facebook.com/BigFishDearborn

Big Fish Princeton, NJ   - facebook.com/BigFishPrincetonNJ

Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI - facebook.com/CharleysCrabGR

Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI - facebook.com/GandyDancer

Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GrandConcourse

Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GandyDancerSaloon

Meriwether's, Southfield, MI - facebook.com/Meriwethers

River Crab, St Clair, MI - facebook.com/RiverCrab

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer is here!

     Time to visit your local Farmer's Market 

The "farm to table" movement is not a fade.  It's a principle that is here to stay and for good reason. 
 
At Landry's, we buy and use local ingredients whenever possible.  The produce at your local farmer's market are more often higher in quality than those found at a grocery store. Most commercially harvested produce is picked under ripe. This is to allow for the time it takes to transport it to its final destination. In short, it ripens in transit. Conversely, produce at you local farmer's market is ripened on the vine because it doesn't travel long distances. It develops a fuller, more mature flavor.

Here's an example. Ever wonder why that slice of pineapple tasted so good while you where vacationing in Hawaii. Pineapples intended for local Hawaiian markets are allowed to ripen in the field. Those intended for the continental US are picked green and ripen in a cargo ship on their long journey across the Pacific.


At your local market right now you'll find wonderful tomatoes, squash, asparagus, melons and so much more. Take advantage of this wonderful resource while it's in the peak of the season. Below is a recipe for a nice refreshing salad that showcases some of these seasonal offerings. I hope you enjoy it!

Ciao,
Chef Joe

 

Rustic Caprese
Heirloom Tomato & Buratta Salad with Pickled Melon

Serves 4

2 each   Heirloom Tomatoes

12 oz.    Buratta Cheese or Fresh Mozzarella, hand torn into   2" pieces

8 slices  Pickled Melon (recipe below)

8 slices  Crusty French Bread

8 each   Large Basil Leaves, hand torn  

 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Good Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper

 

1.      Core the tomatoes and cut each tomato in half.  Cut each half into 4 rustic shaped pieces. Arrange 4 pieces on tomato on the left side of each plate.
 
2.      Arrange 4 pieces of cheese between the tomato pieces.

3.      Cut each melon slice in half. Arrange 4 pieces of melon on the right side of the plate.  

4.      Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the tomatoes and cheese.

5.      Evenly sprinkle the torn Basil leaves over the salad.

Sprinkle the salad with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish each plate with a couple of slices of crusty French bread.

 

Pickled Melon

1/2 half   Honeydew Melon, rind off, seeded, sliced 1/4" thick

1/4 cup   Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp       Kosher Salt

1/2 tsp   Ground Black Pepper

1/2 tsp   Water

Directions:
Combine the vinegar, salt, pepper and water in a mixing bowl and blend with a wire whip to dissolve salt. Pour into a shallow baking dish and add the melon slices.  Urn to evenly coat with liquid, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours before use.
 
 

For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood facebook.com/#!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:
Big Fish Dearborn, MI  - facebook.com/BigFishDearborn

Big Fish Princeton, NJ   - facebook.com/BigFishPrincetonNJ

Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI - facebook.com/CharleysCrabGR

Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI - facebook.com/GandyDancer

Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GrandConcourse

Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GandyDancerSaloon

Meriwether's, Southfield, MI - facebook.com/Meriwethers

River Crab, St Clair, MI - facebook.com/RiverCrab


 

Monday, September 22, 2014

That wine was made where?

Introducing Brengman Brothers Winery

Brengman Brothers
Winery
I am now a believer! All great domestic wines aren't made on the west coast.  On a recent trip to Traverse City, Michigan, I had a chance to visit the Brengman Brothers winery. Having lived in the Napa valley for several years, I was a bit of a California wine snob.  The operative word here is was. 


Robert Brengman, one of the Winery owners was a gracious host. He and winemaker, Nathanael Rose, took me into the aging room for a private barrel sampling. It was a memorable experience. I once thought that Michigan only produced Rieslings and Gewurtztraminer, but that myth has been dispelled. What I tasted was a variety of wines including some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that I've had. After speaking with Nate, I was educated on the Michigan growing region. Nearby Lake Michigan protects the area from some of the harshest winter weather. In fact, the growing season in their area is actually longer than the famed Napa valley. 

The Aging Room
Brengman Brothers produces several different labels. The Brengman Brothers label is a line of high quality Estate grown wines. Try The Artist Series Pinot Noir and Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. The Block 65 Blend is a melange of Pinot Gris, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. A very clean and crisp wine with hints of Ginger and cinnamon. The Runaway Hen label serves up several wines for everyday drinking. The White Table Wine and Late Harvest Riesling are my favorite. 

The tasting room is open daily from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Stop by and try some wine. You'll be glad you did!

The Brengman Brothers


Ciao,
Chef Joe      

For quick links to this blog, “LIKE” us on Facebook Landry’s Seafood facebook.com/#!/LandrysSeafood and on our Muer Facebook pages at:

Big Fish Dearborn, MI  - facebook.com/BigFishDearborn

Big Fish Princeton, NJ   - facebook.com/BigFishPrincetonNJ

Charley's Crab Grand Rapids, MI - facebook.com/CharleysCrabGR

Gandy Dancer Ann Arbor, MI - facebook.com/GandyDancer

Grand Concourse, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GrandConcourse

Gandy Saloon, Pittsburgh, PA - facebook.com/GandyDancerSaloon

Meriwether's, Southfield, MI - facebook.com/Meriwethers

River Crab, St Clair, MI - facebook.com/RiverCrab