Summer Recipes Part I: Grilling

Spatchcock that chicken!

From time to time we like to share recipes on The Genuine Kitchen, but it has been ages since that has happened!  As luck would have it, Michael developed some new ones for the International Olive Council with the summer in mind.  Over the month of August, we’ll post them here so you can enjoy the fruits of the season at home, even if you’re here in South Florida where local produce is on the scarce side. First up… grilling with extra virgin olive oil.

Grilling is one of the most popular ways we celebrate summer here in America, especially in areas of the country that have a short window to make the most of fresh summer produce.  It is a quick and easy way to prepare anything from fruits and vegetables to seafood and meats, and enhances their natural flavors.

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Menu Announcement: It’s Getting Hot & Hot in Here with Scuppernogs & Muscadines

Scuppernogs & muscadines!

James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Hasting’s menu is set for his August 15 pop-up at Harry’s Pizzeria, and he is NOT messing around! We will get our first taste of the wily wild berries above, scuppernogs and muscadines, which will snuggle up to Lake Meadow Natural’s guinea hen in the third course. With its name originating from the Scuppernong River in North Carolina, the scuppernog is a large variety of muscadine native to the southeastern United States. It is usually a greenish or bronze color and is similar in appearance and texture to a white grape, but rounder and larger and first known as the ‘big white grape’.  According to Wikipedia, it was first mentioned as a “white grape” in a written logbook by the Florentine explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano (!) while exploring the Cape Fear River Valley in 1524. Possibly the oldest cultivated grapevine in the world is the 400 year old scuppernong “Mother Vine” growing on Roanoke Island, North Carolina.  But it’s all about a great big Alabama-Florida hug at Hot & Hot Pizzeria.  See how you’ll be served a big one, below, and click here for tickets!

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Cortez Bottarga: The Gulf Coast of Florida’s “Caviar of the Mediterranean” at MGFD

Zucchini, red onion, fontina, chili oil & parsley pizza with Cortez Bottarga (photo by Jackie Sayet)

Murals dating back to the tenth century B.C. depict fishermen engaging in the traditional procedure of making bottarga. Since then, the pressed dried fish eggs have become a staple of Mediterranean cuisine. Most often associated with coastal Italian fare, primarily of Sardinia and Sicily, the cured roe has also been dubbed the “Caviar of the Mediterranean”.

Cortez Bottarga, a subset of the Anna Maria Fish Company in the central Gulf Coast of Florida, is the first in the United States to produce the product for international consumption. In the past, Gray Mullet roe from the Gulf of Mexico was exported to Europe or Asia to be cured and aged. Now, Cortez Bottarga is a local source for a fresh taste of our very own version of this so-called “caviar”. And it’s hand-made, much like it was thousands of years ago.

Founded by Seth Cripe, a Florida native, the company is primarily dedicated to supporting local fishermen, increasing the economic development of the Florida gulf region and sustaining the ecological health of its surrounding marine life.

But Cortez Bottarga differs from other sources because it’s a more delicately flavored product. Bottarga can generally be attributed to two varieties: tuna (bottarga di tonno) or Gray Mullet (bottarga di muggine). Gray Mullet bottarga is less brash, with a reddish orange hue, and boasts a subtle flavor and color.

The fishermen for Cortez Bottarga use hand-thrown nets, and the fish are taken to dock within a few hours of being caught (roe season for Gray Mullet is primarily in the winter). The mullet is then cleaned and the plump golden roe is cut. Then, the roe is quickly cured with kosher sea salt. Pressed, dried, and ready to go, Cortez Bottarga does not age its bottarga. Instead, the entire process  only takes a couple of days. This prevents oxidation and also encourages its characteristic flavor.

Michael was turned onto to Cortez Bottarga by chef Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal and Son of a Gun restaurants in L.A. when they popped at Harry’s Pizzeria in May.  Chef de cuisine Bradley Herron placed his first order a few weeks after and since then has used the gray mullet bottarga in dishes such as linguine  shrimp, leeks, and seasoned bread crumbs, and the wood oven pizza above with zucchini, red onion, fontina, chili oil and parsley. Finished off with the cured roe for that certain sea salty something, it’s a pizza topped with what we could now proudly call our very own “Caviar of the Gulf Coast.”  But Brad took it one step further, paying homage to how its been done since the beginning, and began making his own. Look for special pastas and seafood dishes laced with the creamy, housemade version done with snapper roe on dinner menus to come.

Drink Like a Local…with a Local at Harry’s Pizzeria

Can you find the state of Florida in the logo?

Everyone knows that we love everything local. So, when we heard about Drink Like a Local, we immediately jumped onboard. And if you saddle up to the Harry’s Pizzeria counter this week and order a pint, then you’re onboard too, since local craft beers have currently taken over Harry’s four taps to toast this new movement to support local breweries and help them grow, the brainchild of Brown Distributing Company’s Ian Salzberg, Minister of Beer Communications and Certified Cicerone.  I caught up with our Brown rep and fellow local Josh Brent to get the low down on drinking like a local.  Read the interview below and visit Harry’s Pizzeria’s Tumbr for an exclusive video on our local offerings!

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As You Like It: In(stagram) Filters We Trust

What’s in the walk-in today? Line cook Craig Simon and some Peter’s Points freshly FedExed from Island Creek Oyster, which get their flavor from the beautiful jade-colored algae that decorates their shells.

You may have noticed Tweets from The Genuine Hospitality Group handles look a little different lately.  With everyone on the team now iPhoning (yes, I’m a late bloomer…….) and being the imaging freaks that we are, it was time to step up our game with the photos we share.  So over the past few weeks, @mgfd_mia, @harryspizzeria, and @chefmschwartz  have signed up for Instagram accounts.   Even BlackBerry-shackled summer intern @vcalleja has found a way with her iTouch!  We all have certain filters we tend to favor.  @elliesara loves the sharp bluish overtone  of Amaro and ominous gray of Brannan. For me, the sepia scrim of Rise, marbled pastels of Walden, and ultraviolet intensity of 1977 fit the bill.

Braised pig foot with sticky, smokey chickpea, roasted heirloom tomato, and chorizo stew.

The response has been overwhelming to what we’re putting out there, so thank you for eating it all up.  It was especially fun last night to linger after pre-shift at the bar and enjoy some of the specials only to have a couple of folks who had just then seen my pictures come in to try the new dishes! 3thahardway, we promise to keep the genuine material posting if only for your likes!

Are you on Instagram yet? If not, we hope you get with the program, too.