Walking on Sunshine, Don’t It Taste Good?
December 18th, 2010 - By Lari Robling
Winter fare getting boring? Chef Frederic Demers Executive Chef of Café Martinique, Atlantis in the Bahamas offers some healthy Island recipes using citrus and fish.
It was easy to get our five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables during the summer, but in winter it’s harder and harder to get a variety of colors and flavors. The next best thing, then, is to put ourselves into a Caribbean state of mind. “It is the citrus season now over there, you have orange, tangerine, you have fresh limes, you have actually even pomegranate to go with it, and pomelos as well. Pomelo is like a giant grapefruit basically, it looks like a small soccer ball and has similar tastes as a grapefruit,” says Chef Frederick Demers, of John Georges Café Martinique Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Chef Demers says think citrus, and fresh fish, “Mix citrus together, mix segments together, with some island ginger, cilantro, and some pomegranates, and with a little soy vinaigrette, it’s basically soy, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.” Chef says there’s an abundance of grouper in the Bahamas, but you can substitute tilapia or other white fish. Here’s all you have to do, “A little bit of salt, not too much, pan sear it in olive oil to make it a nice crispy crust, and then you finish it in oven, slow bake it, 5-6 minutes in the oven at 350° then let it rest, and add a nice salad on top of it, and it’s delicious.
But, there’s a vegan take as well. Chef serves this simple black bean salad with seared tofu, “So, it’s basically a warm black bean salad,” he says. “Now the way you do it is you have to soak your black beans 24 hours a head, so the next day you cook them with just water, and we add some spice with some cinnamon, some nutmeg, to make it a little bit islandy as well.” Chef says you should also, “You could do a cilantro puree around it, to give it some other flavors as well. Blanch your cilantro, squeeze it up as much as possible, put it in a blender with olive oil, and just blend it up, and you just drizzle it around on top of the warm black bean salad. And it’s really good, I’m not vegan, but I love that dish.”
Dammaus says religion is an important part of the culture in the Bahamas. Families gather together after church every Sunday and one dish that’s always on the table is Island Slaw. “Whatever cabbage shredded like any coleslaw that you do at home, you can add some carrots to that, and if you are healthy, really healthy, but don’t add mayonnaise, if you want to have mayonnaise, you could add a little bit, you could add a low calorie mayonnaise if you want. But, I like it just with olive oil and fresh, well, sour orange juice.” Chef notes that sour orange grows everywhere on the Island, but isn’t exported. You can substitute orange juice blended with a little lemon juice.
As for the pomegranate in the citrus salad, it’s a great source of antioxidants, potassium, vitamin c and fiber, for only 80 calories in a half cup. But it’s a mess to get those seed pods out so I asked Chef Dammaus for a little kitchen wisdom here. He says, “You just cut it in half, and hold it, it depends if your a lefty or righty, let’s say you are a righty like me, you put the pomegranate in left hand, then with the right hand you take a spoon and just tap it, on the back of it and all the seeds just come out in your hand here.” It works! Go to our website for pictures of this technique and today’s recipes from Chef Demers.
HOW TO GET THOSE PESKY POMEGRANATE SEEDS OUT: