Friday, March 29, 2013

The Hawthornes Attend Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium.

The Hawthornes traveled to Manteo
for another cooking class at the North Carolina Aquarium.
Chef Jason Smith of the Black Pelican
was the guest chef today.
I've always enjoyed his presentations.

Chef Smith was recently featured
on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
as he made Wanchese Fisherman's Risotto.

And it's Wanchese, not Wancheese, Food Network.
For an interesting article about Wanchese,
check out Our State Magazine.

We started out with an appetizer - Shrimp Caprese.
"Caprese," in case you didn't know, and I didn't,
means, literally, "of Capri," as in Italy.
It denotes a particular combination of ingredients -
mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil.

It's hard to tell,
but that's a little shrimpie on the bottom.
Chef Smith sautéed his shrimp, 
then added a basil pesto to the pan
and coated the shrimp with the pesto.
The shrimp were topped with a small slice of grape tomato,
fresh mozzarella, a dab of balsamic reduction,
and a sprinkling of pine nut brittle.

I usually have a problem with seafood and cheese,
but I didn't with the shrimp and mozzarella.

This is a one-bite appetizer
and Chef Smith served it on these cute little serving spoons
which have a little wedge on the handle so it can sit upright.
He gets them from J. B. Prince
which might be my new favorite cooking place.

And yes.
I will be making this.
I have plenty of frozen North Carolina shrimp
and pesto from my Hurricane Harvest.

When Mr. Hawthorne and I tasted the shrimp,
we turned to each other,
"This is not North Carolina shrimp."

And Chef Smith admitted it wasn't.

 The main course was Summer Mahi Napoleon.
mahi mahi filet
basil pesto
slice of tomato
slice fresh mozzarella
4 x 4 pastry square
egg wash

Chef Smith partially cooked the fish filets,
then spread the pesto over top
and added a slice of tomato and the mozzarella.
Then he wrapped the filets in the pastry.

These went into a 380° convection oven.

I kept waiting for him to take the filets out.
He kept them in for 30 minutes.

Granted, it's hard to cook in ovens 
one is not familiar with,
but next time, bring a probe thermometer
and cook it to around 140° internal temperature.
(He forgot his thermometer.)

Sorry, but 30 minutes was way too long.
My fish was very dry and overcooked
and, gasp!, tasted fishy.

I won't be making the Mahi Napoleon.
I don't care for the pastry.
But I love me some mahi mahi,
when it's cooked properly.

Also on the plate were roasted tomatoes.
Drizzle some olive oil on the pan,
coat the tomatoes, and sprinkle some
Herbes de Provence and freshly ground salt and pepper.

A crab meat orzo and mixed greens salad
 with a balsamic vinaigrette rounded out our meal.

Orzo and Crab Meat
2 cups orzo
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 TB butter
1/4 pound crabmeat
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
freshly cracked pepper and salt
1 TB lemon juice

Cook pasta and drain.
Combine garlic, cream, butter, salt, pepper, and lemon juice
and bring to a boil.
Pour over the orzo
and toss with Parmesan and crab meat.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups honey Dijon 
1/2 cup brown mustard
1 TB brown sugar
pinch garlic powder
pinch celery seed
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
pinch oregano
1/2 cup honey

I had to stop and say hello to Myrtle.

As always, the turtles were excited to see me.

If you're ever on the Outer Banks,
you owe it to yourself to check out the aquarium.

This little otter was happily playing with pipes.



Marilyn said...

The shrimp caprese sounds delicious.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

The shrimp was excellent, Mar. The mahi mahi, not so much.

SweetPhyl said...

I have seen J.B. Prince in the past, but I didn't even think to look online. My God, a whole catalog of graters and zesters. I'm in heaven! Thanks for the drool producing link... Happy Easter Rosie!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I think I must buy something, Phyllis.

Happy Easter backatcha!