Taste of the Nation: 3 recipes

Cast Iron Seared Salmon Salad

For the Aged Sherry Vinaigrette
1 cup Aged Sherry Vinegar
3 cups Bacon Fat, warm enough to liquid
1 Tbsp Creole Mustard (Dijon may be substituted)
1 cup cooked Bacon, chopped finely
1/4 cup slivered Green Onions
1 Tbsp. fred Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh Rosemary, chopped

Combine the vinegar, herbs and mustard, slowly add bacon fat until emulsified. Add chopped bacon, green onions, salt and cracked black pepper.  Garnish with the chopped bacon and green onions. Note - this is a temporary emulsion, which must be stirred back together at each use.

Reserve Warm

For the Garnish-
1 head of Fennel, shaved thin
1 bunch of Pencil Asparagus, stems removed where the tender stalk begins, cut on a heavy bias into half-inch pieces
1 Large Red Onion, Julienne
1 Tbsp. Salad Oil
Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

Preheat grill to medium heat. Combine vegetables in a large bowl, add the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill in a perforated pan, and place on grill. (If you don't have a perforated pan, cover the grill w/ aluminum foil and cut slits into it.) Keep vegetables moving over the grill until just cooked, approximately four minutes, reserve.

For the Salad
12 oz. Baby Spinach
1 pt. Cherry Tomatoes, halved through the stem
4 oz. Cooked Chopped Bacon

For the Salmon
4 6oz. Skinless Salmon Fillets
2 Tbsp. Salad Oil
Cast Iron Pan over Medium High Heat

Iron Seared Scallops w/ mojito gastrique and mirliton avocado slaw

For the gastrique:
1/2 cup light karo syrup
1/4 c white rum
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/3 cup fresh mint chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients except the mint and cilantro in a small pot. Reduce by 1/3, finish with the herbs (Note- the gastrique may look thin, but as it cools for use, it will thicken. It should be used warm. not very hard.

For the slaw:
2 mirlitons (also called chayote), peeled, seeded, julienned
1 large avocade, very ripe, diced
1/2 med red onion, julienned
1 roasted red pepper, julienned
1 tbsp. jalapeno. diced finely
2 limes juiced
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp, sugar
salt, black pepper, to taste

combine all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl

for the scallops:

12 u/10 scallops
salt, black pepper
2 tbsp salad oil

season scallops on both sides, sear in a hot cast iron pan. approx 1 minute on each side done

split the slaw onto four plates, drizzle gastrique around each plate and arrange 3 scallops onto each. Garnish w/ charred lime slices.

New Orleans barbecue shrimp

2 dozen 10/15 white american shrimp
1 1/2 tbsp creole seasoning
4 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2tbsp finely chopped rosemary
2tbsp lea & perins worcestershire sauce
2tbsp hot sauce
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup dark shrimp stock
1 stick softened butter
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups cooked yellow grits

Using a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with half the seasoning. In a hot large skillet, add the oil, garlic and rosemary. As the garlic starts to color, add the shrimp cooking quickly on each side. Remove the shrimp before fully cooked and reserve.

Deglaze the pan with the beer, shrimp stock, and lemon. Add the hot sauce and worcestershire. Reduce by half, turn down the heat to a medium. Add the butter at tablespoon at a time, stirring to incorporate. Return the shrimp to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and creole seasoning. Serve over yellow grits.

Tom Robey

Good Day Alabama