A few weeks ago, I was tasked to whip up a special, private Open Flame event at American Propane, with a focus on Caribbean flavors.
With the help of chef Ryan Parrott and Homeland, we were able to offer up a feast fit for the many heirs of Bob Marley.
Homeland dietitian Alyson Dykstra started off the night with a terrific chip dip to wake the palate without piling on calories.
Since we were a little short-handed in the kitchen, chef Parrott and I combined forces to prepare a feast of Jamaican Jerk-Rubbed Smoked Chicken, Trinidad Shrimp Curry and Cubano Sliders with Pineapple Chow in Three-Mile Islander Sauce, traditional black beans and steamed rice.
We finished the night off by tossing some ripe bananas in the smoker for an hour and serving them with a super-quick, super-simple caramel sauce.
We have a lot of recipes to get to, so I will resist the urge to wax to poetic about the sea of flavor that washed over the Cabana at American Propane.
I will tell you that Parrott, whom you remember from Local, Deep Fork Grill and Iguana Mexican Grill, is working at VZD’s when he’s not planning private events. You can negotiate his considerable services for special events by calling him at 514-3880.
The next Open Flame at American Propane is scheduled for Aug. 21. Chefs Kurt Fleischfresser, Eric Smith and Chris McCabe will be in the house to serve surf and turf. I’m told the event is either sold out or close to it, but you can call 843-6868 to be put on a waiting list should someone foolishly cancel. Or you can put your name in for the September event, which will feature flavors from south of the border.
Trinidad Shrimp Curry
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 heaping tablespoon Madras blend curry powder (I like using a Caribbean variety)
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 habanero pepper (more if you like spicier)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
4 tablespoons water for cooking the curry
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small can tomato sauce
Juice from a lime or lemon
In a large bowl, place the cleaned shrimp. Squeeze lemon and or lime juice over them and add the salt, black pepper, chopped peppers (habanero and bell), cilantro, thyme and scallions. Give it a good stir and allow it to marinate for at least 20 minutes, but no longer than an hour.
In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the sliced onions, peppers and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until they get soft and edges start going golden. Add the curry powder, give it a good stir and cook for a couple minutes to release the curry flavors. The curry will darken become grainy. Reduce heat if you sense its burning.
Add water and tomato sauce and let simmer while you grill the shrimp.
Prepare barbecue for direct-heat grilling. Barbecue the shrimp over direct heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side. When the shrimp turn orange and the edges curl slightly, they’re done.
Place on a platter, cover with Trinidad curry and serve with rice.
SOURCE: Chef Ryan Parrott
Smoked Jerk Chicken
1 4- to 5-pound roasting chicken
1/4 cup jerk seasoning rub
1 orange, sliced in rings
1 lemon, sliced in rings
1 lime, sliced in rings
Jerk seasoning rub
Pecan chunks soaked in water at least one hour for smoking
Clean the chicken, clearing neck and giblets from cavity. Dry with paper towels and rub with jerk seasoning until well coated. Arrange orange, lemon and lime rings on the bird and stuff the remainder in the cavity. Sprinkle the rings on the chicken with more seasoning.
Prepare barbecue for indirect smoking. Shake residual water off pecan wood and toss over the hot coals just before the chicken goes on the barbecue.
Smoke over indirect heat at 200 to 225 degrees until chicken registers 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Note: Plan to smoke chicken about an hour for every two pounds, so a four-pound bird will smoke about two hours.