Florida’s cuisine is without question a unique blend of the most diverse cooking styles of the world.
The rich exchange of multicultural cooking and variety of foods began with a liaison between native American, Spanish and European ingredients and cooking methods. Florida’s cuisine has been further influenced by Anglo-American and Jewish flavours, as well as by Cuban and Caribbean heat. All this history is accented by a myriad of locally grown foods, resulting in a fascinating fusion of dishes to suit any taste.With such a great blend of cultures and a wealth of interesting ingredients at our fingertips, a Florida-style menu is a terrific start to enhance any summer gathering.
This popular new South Florida appetizer is somewhat like a cross between garlic bread and a sauceless pizza. Make a big batch, as it is quite addictive!
1 large loaf of french bread
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup ranch dressing
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat broiler to high.
Slice the bread in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet. Butter the inside surface of the bread. Sprinkle with garlic powder and broil until slightly toasted.
Remove and spread dressing over both pieces. Top with diced tomatoes, fresh chives and cheese.
Broil until cheese melts and is beginning to turn brown. Cool slightly, and slice into appetizer sized portions. Serve immediately.
2 1/2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 ripe avocado
salt and pepper to taste
lettuce, grape tomatoes, red onion…
Mash the avocado with lime juice; add oil, vinegar and cilantro, season with salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.
Toss with vegetables before serving.
Crispy Lime Sole with Tropical Fruit Salsa
1/3 cup flour
2 cups crisp rice cereal, crushed
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds, finely chopped
1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. lime zest
3 tbsp. fresh key lime juice or fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. fresh sole fillets
canola oil spray
Use one flat dish for flour, and a second flat dish for the cereal crumbs, 1/2 cup almonds and cilantro. In a wide bowl, mix together eggs with 2 tbsp. lime juice, seasonings and lime zest. Dip both sides of the fish first into the flour, then into the egg mixture, draining slightly, then into the crumb mixture, coating well.
Place on a baking sheet sprayed with canola oil. Drizzle breaded sole with remaining lime juice. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes. Garnish with remaining almond slices. Serve topped with Tropical Fruit Salsa
Habanero chili peppers are a favourite in Florida cuisine. They are extremely hot and flavourful. If you can’t find one in your local market, substitute a fresh Jalapeno pepper or hot chili sauce.
1 orange or 2 clementines, peeled and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Optional – 1/4 tsp. (or to taste) fresh habanero chili pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped (take care handling chili) or 1/2 tsp. (or to taste), chili hot sauce
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate. Salsa needs 4-5 hours for the flavours to merge, so prepare it in advance.
1 package frozen tart shells (12 regular or 18 mini-shells)
4 egg yolks
14-oz. can sweetened low-fat condensed milk
2 tsp. lime zest, finely grated
1/2 cup key lime juice, or fresh lime juice
Place tart shells on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden. Cool slightly. In processor or with an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until they are light yellow, add condensed milk and pulse, or mix on low. Add lime zest and 1/2 of the lime juice, pulse, or mix on low until incorporated. Add remaining juice and repeat. Spoon mixture into shells, bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.