Recently we were invited to do a dinner at Paradise Farms in Homestead Florida. The best way to describe what Paradise Farms is its a smaller more hippy version of Chefs Garden in Ohio. They grow everything from vegetables, lettuces, herbs, flowers, to star fruit and squash. My Favorite part of the day was being able to just go out and forage whatever we wanted to use for that nights menu.
We were paired up for the dinner with the Chef team from the Loews Hotel headed by Frederic Delaire. Jacob and I tag teamed the first course. We tried to use as much products from the farm as possible. The dish was a modern take a generally basic dish of “Tuna Nicoise”. Classically Tuna Nicoise always includes tuna, whether the tuna is poached, seared, or raw. The vegetables can array from; lettuces, artichokes, tomatoes, Haricot Verts (french green beans), potatoes, olives, herbs, sweet peppers, and more. There is usually a hard boiled egg and a vinaigrette of just lemon and olive oil. With so many options of what to do it was really hard for us to stop adding ingredients, especially with all the great items we got to forage before the dinner. This is what we ended up doing (imagine plating 55 of these at one time)
The tuna was presented in three different preparations:
Sashimi Yellowfin Tuna
Raw sashimi style with coriander salt
Smoked over moss and spices
Tuna Rillette Confit, slightly cured and poached SV in olive oil and aromatics in order to obtain the same texture that you would get from duck confit. This was pulled and folded with a fine’ herb aioli and sliced Haricot Verts (from the farm).
Other Components Include:
Organic 63C Egg Yolk Jam (Yellow sauce on the plate and Paradise provided the eggs)
Egg Yolk crumbs
Eggwhite and citrus Mousseline
Nicoise Olive Emulsion
Nicoise Olive Crumbs
Meyer Lemon Puree
Arugula, Mustard Greens, Borage Flowers (all from Paradise)
The second course was a local snapper ceviche with a really interesting presentation where there was sangre de tigre in one part and the guest was instructed to pour the juice over the snappper and enjoy in the the other cup (these were one time use and throw away after the dish was served). Kind of an interesting choice of service vessels since this was a dinner on an organic farm where everything that was not served on a plate was sent to compost for fertilization, and we were not allowed to use any land animal meat at all for the dinner including snails for the risotto (next course), but here is the pic.
The next course was one of my favorites and one of Joel’s signature dishes.
Carnaroli Risotto, Chanterelle Mushroom, Forest Floor, and Alba White Truffles
Chef Joel went around to each guest and shaved fresh white truffles onto each of the risottos. This pic only shows what goes under the bowl of rice and we placed hot rocks into the moss and aromatics then poured an mushroom and herb tea so the steam reminds the guests of the “Forest Floor”. Also he foraged nasturtium leaves, dollar leaves, and wood sorrel.
This was an awesome experience and I want to thank everyone that works and volunteers at Paradise Farms, the Chefs from the Loews Hotel and all the diners.