Sunday, November 1, 2015


             Chef Josh Butler's Recipes

By Doc Lawrence

Chef Josh Butler
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA-They call it the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party, a claim backed up on this college football weekend by partisans who combine their fierce loyalty to their respective teams with libations and some very creative food. Georgia’s ‘Dawgs met the Gators of Florida here alongside navigable waters, under a clear autumn sky.

Welcome to the Sunshine State, a diverse place, far more than beach vacations and Disney World.

Still Southern, Jacksonville is North Florida where you can find a variety of cuisines. Seafood is omnipresent, but there’s a bedrock culture that harkens back to Spain over five centuries ago that includes wines. The first wines to come into America were brought by Spanish explorers into St. Augustine

Cracker cooking is part of Florida’s culinary heritage. Popularized by Pulitzer Award winner and Cross Creek resident Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, it features game, garden vegetables and all things local. A new book on Florida food inspired by Eatonville, Florida’s Zora Neale Hurston, one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, confirms the profound impact of African-Americans on today’s Florida cuisine.

Chef Josh Butler is one of Florida’s most effective food representatives. Josh, who now cooks for Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Restaurant in Senoia, Georgia served as chef for three Florida governors including Jeb Bush. His Grouper Burger is a tailgating original.

   By Chef Josh Butler
1-pound fresh Florida grouper fillet, rough chopped
½ pound fresh Florida peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1-teaspoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
3/4-teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 whole grain, freshly baked buns

Add the shrimp to a food processor and make a paste. Roughly chop the grouper into pieces. Combine the chopped Grouper, Shrimp paste, salt, pepper, onion, bell pepper, breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, and mayonnaise and fold gently, dividing into four equal sections shaped into patties. Cover the patties and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cook burgers 4 minutes per side or to internal temperature of 150°F. Place the cooked burgers on top of the whole grain rolls, top with Florida slaw and Capital City Tartar sauce.
1-cup low fat mayonnaise
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup fresh basil, leaves picked off of stems
1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves picked off of stems
1-cup fresh Mexican tarragon, leaves picked off the stem
1 cup fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped dill pickle
1-teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
In a food processor or blender, add the fresh herbs, spinach and lemon juice, then puree. Add the mayo and yogurt and puree to incorporate the herbs.  Pour this mixture into a bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
½ head Napa style cabbage
2 carrots peeled and grated
1 small sweet onion, sliced
2 pink grapefruits, sectioned
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
2 tablespoons key lime juice
4 teaspoons raw Florida sugar
4 teaspoons Greek-style yogurt
1-tablespoon fruity olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the vegetables in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. With a serrated knife, peel the grapefruits and tangerines and cut out the segments removing the white pith. Cut the sections into bite size pieces then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix the lime juice and the sugar together until dissolved. Add the yogurt and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Florida Wines
Warm-up with a Datil Bloody Mary (made with the ancient pepper still abundant in St. Augustine) and sever Grouper Burgers with the delicious white wine, Blanc Du Bois from Florida’s Lakeridge Vineyards.

GIFT SUGGESTION: The collectible Jim Sanders Coos For Wine Lovers is now available. Includes the French wine pairing chart.

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