Compliments of the Chef: Recipes from Chef William Lacrosse
This dish is a little more in depth than the others. It will require a little more skill so let’s get into it, shall we. This is a spring dish as the title states blossoms. Trust me it is worth the effort if you endeavor to do so. Also we will be incorporating a little used pasta. It is sold under the name of “Ancini Di Pepe”. You can find it at most grocery stores or you can order it from your friend and mine, Amazon. Soon you will never have to leave your home for anything… lol. There are a few steps to this but it is mostly finding the zucchini blossoms. It might be a good idea to connect with the local farmers market as they would be most likely to have them or be able to acquire these treasures of spring. If not, we can use other vegetables in season. For stuffing or possibly even meat. As they say necessity is the mother of invention.. Well here is the recipe for the blossoms as I have created them, enjoy!
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
with Fresh Herbs and Pearl Pasta
- 8 zucchini blossoms, cleaned and set aside to dry on a clean towel.
- 2 cups of cream cheese
- 2 cups ricotta cheese mix them together with a roasted garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 bunch each of Italian parsley, basil, mint, dill picked from stems and mixed together in a bowl.
- Pearl pasta cooked al dente and chilled. If you mix in a little olive oil it will keep it from sticking together.
- 1 small bottle of balsamic reduction for finishing the dish as well as red pepper infused olive oil.
Stuff the flowers very carefully with the cheese mixture by piping twill cradling the blossom in the palm of your hand. Dredge in flour then dip into tempura batter. Heat a pan of canola oil to about 325. Carefully place the blossoms into the oil and cook until golden brown on all sides remove and let drain on a clean towel or fry rack.
Make a bed of fresh mixed herbs and spoon the pearl pasta on top. Then place the blossoms on the top of the pasta.
Drizzle the balsamic reduction and red pepper oil on top and finish with a bite of maldon salt
Serve as an appetizer or as a vegetarian entrée option.
Here is a lovely summer dish I made in the kitchen a while ago. It’s a fish called branzino, it is a light white fish and can be cooked skin on, which gives it a wonderful texture with crispy skin and delicate meat. It has a chimichurri sauce with roasted fingerling potatoes, topped with fresh Italian parsley and home made pickled red onion. I like to finish it with extra virgin olive oil and capers to add a nice touch of acidic quality. This recipe is rather simple to create and always remember that you are the chef. My recipes are how I believe they should be. If you don’t like capers you can leave them out. My goal is to show you a recipe and let you make it your own. If you can’t find branzino you can use trout if you are so inclined as long as it is a nice white meat filet.
Pan seared Branzino
with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Chimichurri Sauce
- 1 cup of pickled red onion
- 1 lb Yukon gold fingerling potatoes
- 1 bch fresh Italian parsley
- 2 jalapenos, 1 whole and the other deseeded and scraped of the white pith as to remove the heat.
- 2 shallots cut rough as they will be processed with other vegetables as we go.
- 4 toes of garlic rough chopped
- 1 bch cilantro
- 2 tbsp toasted cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste as well as red pepper chili flakes
- 1 fresh lime juiced and zested
Begin by making the chimichurri sauce in a food processor. Rough cut all of the vegetables excluding the potatoes.
Place them in the blender on high for as long as it takes to crush all the ingredients adding the lime juice, oil, and toasted cumin. Stop every once in a while to adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.
Set aside in the fridge to cool until needed. (this will give it some time to develop it’s flavor.
Next, let’s get the potatoes going. This is pretty cut and dry, a little canola/olive oil and some salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes on an angle about a half inch slice, toss them in the oil, salt and pepper mixture and place them on a sheet pan in the oven at around 375 for about 30 to 45 minutes. I like to check them halfway through and flip them over to achieve a nice crisp on both sides.
Next we are going to sauté the fish. In a nonstick skillet use about 2 tbls canola/olive oil and heat to a medium heat on the stove top. There are two options for cooking the filets. You can use flour or tempura flour. Either will work, but I find the tempura gives it a bit more crunch.
Place skin side down in the hot oil and cook until the edges start to curl up a bit. Carefully with a fish spatula turn the fish always flipping away from yourself. When the filet is golden brown, place on a towel to absorb the excess oil.
When plating the dish, place the roasted Yukon gold fingerlings on the plate first. Then carefully lay two filets across the potato stack. When it is ready to be served topped with the chimichurri sauce and finished with a topping of pickled onion and broad leaf Italian7 parsley. Serve with a nice chilled rose or white wine and love every bite!
To create and then indulge in a dish you have created is the most beautiful feeling. My moto is “live to cook, cook to live.” I hope we can keep enjoying the food and recipes I will share with you in the future.
MEET THE CHEF: Chef William Lacrosse
Salt is both the essence of our coastal hometown, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and the secret ingredient that infuses our lives. Here, we’re not salt farmers, but the air and sea embrace us with their saline kiss, making us a community of passionate beach enthusiasts. As for me, I’m a second-generation chef with over three decades of culinary experience. My culinary lineage traces back to my grandfathers, accomplished chefs themselves, and my mamaw, a legendary southern cook whose influence shaped my culinary journey.
Southern pride runs deep in our veins, and our food heritage is a testament to that pride. Regardless of our backgrounds, we unite in celebrating our shared culinary culture. As a young boy, I was captivated by my mamaw’s kitchen wizardry, forsaking football and outdoor play for the magic she conjured. She, a self-taught culinary maestro, proved that true chefs are born in the crucible of family tradition, not in fancy culinary schools. We cut our teeth on blood, sweat, and tears, just like the salamander in the fire.
Allow me to introduce myself; I’m Chef Bill LaCrosse, and I’m here to take you on a gastronomic journey through the Gulf Coast, spanning from Louisiana to Florida. At 18, I ventured to New Orleans, a city revered as the world’s culinary mecca, and there, my formal culinary education commenced. Starting in a quaint Greek restaurant in the French Quarter, I gradually honed my skills, moving from Italian groceries to other culinary roles. It wasn’t until after Hurricane Katrina that I found my home at Vincent’s Italian Cuisine, where I garnered a loyal following, even attracting a few celebrities.
Later, I took a hiatus to assist a friend in launching a Peruvian-inspired eatery in the Central Business District, and I also enriched my knowledge of global wines and their pairing with food at the popular wine bar, Bacchanal’s. A memorable collaboration, “Kitchen Renegades,” saw me hosting dinner parties at my house, catering to crowds ranging from 20 to 60 guests. Fast forward, I assumed the role of Executive Chef at a private lunch club with a remarkable 150-year legacy.
Today, my focus lies in preserving cherished recipes from bygone days, encompassing the flavors of my upbringing and the lessons from my culinary escapades in the vibrant world of food. I aim to make these recipes accessible to all, ensuring even those less acquainted with the kitchen can create dishes that astonish and delight friends and family. Along the way, I’ll entertain you with anecdotes from my journey through the bustling culinary landscape of New Orleans, offering glimpses into the humor and intrigue that flavor the restaurant life. So, join me on this culinary rollercoaster as we savor the Gulf Coast’s rich and diverse cuisine, one bite at a time.
This next dish is a new one, it’s simple but still packed with flavor. Let’s call it “Roasted miso, Kimchi butter crusted chicken”. This can be served with any sides you like as it falls in the category of roasted meats. I chose to serve it with a crisp cabbage slaw and roasted carrots. The miso butter gives the chicken a wonderful rich umami that taste great with anything. Here is the setup.. It’s a little more detailed in the recipe but still easy to follow along. What we need is as follows, remember if you are unsure of a seasoning or product, The interweb is one call away… if I don’t know what I’m looking for I just type in said product near me. You will be amazed that there are as many specialty and ethnic grocery shops in the city. I like to wander around in the ethnic grocers for hours with my son and try to find an item we have never used before and research on how to create great dishes.
Roasted Miso, Kimchi Butter Crusted Chicken
- Try to find (red miso) from a company called “Miso Master Organic” it’s the best I’ve had so far.
- ½ a cup of Red Miso
- ½ cup of Kimchi chopped rough as it will be placed in a blender and well processed to be smooth.
- 2 sticks of “unsalted butter”. This is important as the rest of the recipe has items that are enough salt for the recipe. I will go ahead and say put the salt shaker into the cabinet for you will not need it here my friends.
- ½ a cup of chopped sweet onion, if you can find them
I recommend Vidala.
- 5 toes of fresh garlic crushed
- MSG, trust me this is what can make or break a good sauce. You can find it at your local Asian market.it is called “Aji-No-Moto”. They will have it or there is a bottle that they carry at most stores called encore I believe. It’s pretty much a bottle of msg just look at the label.
- 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper.
Melt the butter in a small pan on low, while the butter is melting, place all the other ingredients in a blender and process it until the mixture is smooth. As soon as the butter is melted, slowly disincorporate it into the miso, kimchi sauce. Season as you see fit to your taste. When done refrigerate for about an hour and prepare the whole chicken.
Wash and pat dry the bird and as soon as the sauce is cooled down carefully spread the sauce all over the chicken.
When done place into a cast iron skillet and cover with foil. Bake in a preheated oven 350 for about 45 minutes then remove foil and bake at 400 for about 20 more minutes checking every 10 to 15 minutes.
When core temperature has reached said temp over 180 then pull the bird and let rest. I like to slice it after it has a chance to rest and let the flavors meld together. Once again serve with favorite side dishes.