Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen

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Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards, Selected to Represent the USA in the Local Category

Florida Book Awards, Gold Medal for Cooking

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Norman Van Aken invites you to discover the richness of Florida’s culinary landscape. This long-awaited cookbook embraces the history, the character, and the flavors of the state that has inspired Van Aken’s famous fusion style for over forty years. Drawing from Florida’s vibrant array of immigrant cultures, and incorporating local ingredients, the dishes in this book display the exciting diversity of Van Aken’s “New World Cuisine.”

Recipes include Key lime beignets; cornbread-stuffed quail with strawberry-ancho-guava jam and sweet and sour parsnips; “Spanglish” tortillas with hash browns, creamed spinach, and serrano ham; pork stew with raisins, tamarind, plantains, and chiles; and fully loaded cracked conch po’ boys.

While preparing these dishes, readers will enjoy advice and stories straight from the kitchen of a master chef. Van Aken infuses his recipes with tips, techniques, and personality. He reveals the key to a good gumbo, praises the acidity of a pickled peppadew, connects food innovation to jazz and blues music, describes hitchhiking adventures across the state with his wife, Janet, and tells the tale behind the Mustachioed Swimmer, a cocktail named for Tennessee Williams.

Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen is a delicious read―the definitive guide to the historic past and multicultural future of Florida’s abundant foodways. With its forward-thinking blend of old and new, thoughtful step-by-step instructions for wonderful meals, and plenty of friendly conversation, this book is a rare immersion in a culinary artist’s world.

From the Publisher

Steadman’s Boatyard Grilled Citrus and Soy Fish Tacos

Serves 4 (2 tacos per person).

For the fish.

4 (5- to 6-ounce) portions fresh fish such as grouper, mahi, or small jackfish (skin-on is fine) if you are so lucky.

¾ cup olive oil.

½ cup soy sauce.

Juice of 1 orange.

Juice of 1 lemon.

Juice of 1 lime.

6 whole black peppercorns, toasted.

¼ bulb fennel, thinly sliced.

½ red onion, thinly sliced.

4 to 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced.

6 tablespoons thinly sliced rounds of fresh ginger.

For the tacos.

8 corn tortillas.

Peanut or vegetable oil.

Accoutrements: avocado, shredded lettuce or a nice coleslaw you like, chiles, diced tomatoes, or whatever else you wish–go for it.

Make the fish.

Combine all the ingredients and marinate the fish for 15 to 30 minutes. (Do watch the time, as soy can overpower fish if left any longer.)

Heat up an outdoor grill (or a grill pan). Rub the grill grate with a lightly oiled clean towel. Put the fish on the grate and cook until just cooked through. (The time will vary with the thickness of the portions.) Remove from the grill and let rest on a side plate.

Make the tacos.

Fry the corn tortillas in a sauté pan with a slick of oil until soft and fill them with the fish and any other accoutrements you like. Serve flat style or folded-over style. Your tacos, your call.

Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen
Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen
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