Cooks Exchange

Celebrate Chefs of the Coast, and try these recipes at home

Chefs of the Coast is an annual celebration of the best of South Mississippi’s food and the chefs who have elevated the area’s cuisine, including from left, top row: David Crabtree and Matt Meadows; and bottom row: Primo Ramirez and the late Bill Hahne.
Chefs of the Coast is an annual celebration of the best of South Mississippi’s food and the chefs who have elevated the area’s cuisine, including from left, top row: David Crabtree and Matt Meadows; and bottom row: Primo Ramirez and the late Bill Hahne. THE SUN HERALD

Chefs of the Coast, which happens Sept. 23, features the top chefs and restaurants on the Coast.

The event at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center always brings out the best in the chefs. For those new to the Coast or even old-timers, think about the best restaurant meals eaten on the Coast. These chefs -- or perhaps those who have moved on to new adventures or even passed on -- probably prepared them.

For the uninitiated, Chefs of the Coast is an annual food extravaganza put on by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Restaurant and Beverage Association. Patrons sample gourmet foods and wines and enjoy a culinary competition from 6 to 9 p.m. Details: 228-324-0032.

In last week’s column, I shared some recipes from well-known, but closed restaurants.

As Chefs of the Coast grows closer, I flipped through my files and found some awesome recipes that were served at Chefs and at the Mississippi Coast Seafood Classic and other chef competitions and the men and women who prepared them.

Chefs Matt Meadows, David Crabtree, Walter Smith, Primo Ramirez, Vincent Signorelli, Terry Newkirk and the late Bill Hahne and the late Wendell Smith brought a new level to Coast cuisine.

I remember interviewing Crabtree when casinos and the new regime of chefs hit the Coast. Crabtree predicted then that the quality of Coast cuisine would be recognized. He was spot on. Think of the variety of restaurants and chefs that have arrived since 1992.

Today, I share three recipes that I think speak to the quality of Coast chefs. An award-winning dish from Chef Walter Smith was unforgettable, his tea smoked scallop roulade. The scallops were smoked, made into a mousse and wrapped in nori paper with zucchini pieces. Yum.

Meadows made a bird’s nest salad that used fruits and vegetables from Coast farmers. His way of using spaghetti squash, strawberries, jicama, mango and curry was rich in texture and taste.

At a shrimp festival, Hahne did a shrimp Creole soup that had just the right flavor.

Readers, I hope you enjoy these recipes and hope they will inspire you to try them in your kitchen. Check out Chefs of the Coast. The food should be memorable.

TEA-SMOKED SCALLOP ROULADE

1/3 cup black tea leaves

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/3 cup long grain white rice

2 teaspoon orange peel, grated

5 pounds sea scallops

2 tablespoons seafood seasoning

2 egg whites

1 ounce garlic

2 ounces heavy cream

10 nori sheets

3 zucchinis, peeled and sliced thin

1 ounce red caviar

2 ounces sesame seeds, toasted

In a foil-lined wok, combine tea leaves, brown sugar, white rice and grated orange peel. Place scallops in a perforated pan and place in wok. Put wok over an open flame and cover wok. Smoke scallops for 15 minutes. Remove scallops from wok and place in a food processor and puree.

Add seafood seasoning, egg whites, garlic and heavy cream. Remove and chill. Place nori paper on bamboo roller, cover with zucchini pieces. Spread an even layer of scallop mousse over zucchini. On one end, place an even layer of caviar, then proceed to roll into a pinwheel. Wrap in plastic and steam for 12 minutes. Remove from plastic and cut on a bias. Roll each piece in toasted sesame seeds and serve.

– Recipe by Chef Walter Smith

BIRD’S NEST SALAD

1 large spaghetti squash (roasted with oil, salt and pepper for 30 minutes in 375-degree oven)

1 red bell pepper, fine julienne

2 medium carrots, fine julienne

1/2 jicama, fine julienne

1 daikon, fine julienne

1/2 red onion, fine julienne

2 tablespoons infused basil oil

4 kiwis

6 strawberries

1 mango

3/4 cup Valencia orange juice, fresh

1/4 cup mango juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup pepper vinegar

1 teaspoon Thai curry powder

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 ripe banana

Salt and white pepper to taste

Remove inside of squash with a spoon. Place a 1-inch layer in the bottom of a 5-ounce rocks glass. Stir-fry remaining vegetables in infused oil, salt and pepper, to taste.

Stuff stir-fried vegetables on top of squash in glass and invert onto a plate.

Prepare fruit vinaigrette by combining the vinegar, juice, honey and herbs, then add banana and mix in food processor or with hand blender. Prepare 30 tiny melon balls of each of the kiwi, strawberry and mango for garnish.

– Recipe by Chef Matt Meadows

SHRIMP CREOLE SOUP

(Makes 10 cups)

1/2 cup onion, finely diced

1/2 cup celery, finely diced

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 cups shrimp stock

1 pound shrimp, small to medium

1 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf, crack in half

1 teaspoon basil, can use dried

Lightly sauté veggies in olive oil until limp. Add tomatoes, shrimp stock and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Add shrimp, simmer, adjust seasonings and serve.

Note: Can add pepper or Tabasco. May add a little tomato puree if you want thicker sauce. – Recipe by the late Chef Bill Hahne

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.
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