Surf & turf a beloved summer classic

Published 10:48 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

A surf and turf is the main course in American cuisine where seafood and beef are perfectly married to one another. In this menu, Chef Al Romano and I have combined recipes to bring you a stunning, 5-course menu where filet of beef and fresh crab come together for a delightful dinner classic.

Micah Habershaw, the marketing, events, and tasting room manager at RayLen Vineyards, has selected the perfect wines for serving with each course. For the adventurous, try adding a little wine to the recipes.

For the grand finale, giving you a choice of two decadent desserts made with fresh, hand-picked berries is bound to make your decision more difficult.

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

8 oz. softened cream cheese

½ cup ranch salad dressing

½ cup hot wing or Texas Pete sauce

½ cup shredded Colby cheese

½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 lb. diced/shredded, skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a mixer, combine cream cheese, salad dressing, hot sauce, and cheeses, and mix thoroughly. Fold in chicken until combined well. Bake in a 2 qt. baking dish in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and tortilla chips. Serve with RayLen Vineyards 2017 Barrel Chardonnay.

CHILLED FRESH CHERRY SOUP

2 cups cold water

Juice from 1 lemon

4oz honey

1 cinnamon stick

1 cups pitted, fresh cherries

1 Tbsp. arrowroot

½ cup dry red wine

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups Greek yogurt

In a pot, combine water, honey, lemon juice cinnamon stick, and bring to a boil. Add cherries, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. In a bowl, make a paste with arrowroot and 2 Tbsp. of the cherry mixture. Return to the soup pot and while stirring, bring to boil again. Then reduce and simmer again on low for 30 minutes or until soup thickens. Chill. Before serving, stir in wine, yogurt, and cream. Mix well.  Serve with RayLen Vineyards 2017 Carolinius White.

SIMPLE CAESAR SALAD WITH DRESSING

Large head of Romaine lettuce

Croutons

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup premium mayonnaise

2/3 cup fresh, grated, Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 chopped anchovy fillets

2 minced garlic cloves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a processor, combine mayonnaise, olive oil, cheese, mustard, Worcestershire, vinegar, chopped anchovies, and garlic. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place lettuce and croutons in a bowl, and toss with just enough dressing to coat. Drizzle additional dressing over each salad.  Serve with RayLen Vineyards 2017 Carolinius Red.

CRABBY CRAB CAKES

2 beaten egg

1 cup premium mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. Texas Pete sauce

1T chopped Parsley

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1tsp black pepper

2 sleeves crushed, original Ritz crackers

2 lb. fresh crabmeat

Vegetable oil

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the crab meat and crackers. Then add combine lump crab meat and crushed crackers. Pat out crab cakes by hand, making sure they are packed loosely but well enough to hold together. You can use a measuring cup for packing. Fry a few cakes at a time in a 375-degree skillet in 1-inch of oil for about 1 ½ minute on each side or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels Makes 12 large crab cakes. Serve with petit filet.

CHEF AL’S PAN SEARED PETIT FILETS

IN WINE BUTTER SAUCE

1 cup red wine (your choice)

1 T chopped parsley

1 T black pepper

½ lb. salted butter

4 minced shallots

8 (4 oz.) filet mignon steaks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a mixer add butter, wine shallots, parsley, & black pepper. Whip up and place in wax paper to make a log and place in the refrigerator. Salt and pepper filet steaks. In a hot cast iron skillet, sear the meat over high heat for 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. In a skillet, slice some butter pats, and deglaze the pan.  When serving, pour butter sauce over meat. Serve with RayLen Vineyards 2017 Category 5.

ROASTED FRESH ASPARAGUS

WITH PARMESAN

1 lb. trimmed asparagus

1 ½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 minced clove garlic

4 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Cut the tough end off asparagus. In a baking dish, place the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper the asparagus. Toss the asparagus to make sure evenly coated with oil. Bake asparagus in a 450-degree oven for 16 minutes while turning occasionally. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.

ROASTED LEMON ASPARAGUS

30 trimmed spears of asparagus

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Salt and pepper

In a baking dish, combine oil, lemon juice, and peel. Add asparagus and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 450-degree oven for 20 minutes.

PECAN RISOTTO

1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 ¼ cups Arborio rice

½ cup white wine

4 ½ cups chicken broth, plus some

1/3 cup chopped onion

¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans

In a skillet, heat olive oil, add onion, and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add rice while stirring for 1 minute. Add wine while stirring 2 minutes until wine evaporates. Add ½ cup hot broth and cook until all is absorbed while stirring making sure broth is absorbed before adding more. Continue for about 30 minutes or until rice is creamy. Fold pecans into the rice.

CHEF AL’S ROASTED SQUASH MEDLEY

2 yellow squash sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

1 onion, diced

I red pepper, diced

1 tsp. chopped garlic

2 oz. olive oil

1oz. balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss. Place on sheet a put in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or crisp/tender. Do not overcook.

RASPBERRY AND CUSTARD TRIFLE

1 cubed, fresh-baked pound cake

4 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup softened salted butter

1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel

Simple Syrup

½ cup sugar

¼ cup water

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Fruit

2 pints of fresh raspberries

1/3 cup sugar

Topping

2 cups chilled whipped cream

3 Tbsp. sugar

In a saucepan, combine sugar, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Chill. For the custard, in a mixer, beat eggs. Add sugar, lemon juice, butter, and lemon peel. Transfer to a saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes while stirring until it thickens. Cover and chill for 4 hours. For fruit, in a bowl, combine raspberries and sugar. Mash with a fork, and let stand for 30 minutes. To make a trifle, line bottom of 3-quart clear bowl with pieces of cake cut to fit. Drizzle with 1/3 of syrup. Spread with 1/3 custard and 1/3 of the berries. Repeat. Top with cake, syrup, and custard. In a mixer, beat cream until peaks form. Add sugar. Spread over top of trifle Decorate with whole raspberries on top.

CHEF AL’S GRILLED BLUEBERRY COBBLER

4 cups blueberries

2 Tbsp. honey

1 juiced orange

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. corn starch

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. orange juice

1 cup flour

2 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 egg

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup milk

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F. You are using the 2 zone method for this recipe. That means 1/2 your grill burners will be turned on, 1/2 will be turned off. The cobbler will be baked on the side with the burners turned off. Butter the inside of 1 large cast iron pan, or 4 small cast iron pans, Set aside. In a large bowl combine the blueberries, honey, and orange juice. Mix and allow to soften for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. In a large bowl combine sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and orange juice. Stir well. Pour over berries, and mix until combined thoroughly. Pour into cast iron pan. Set aside. In a mixer, combine flour and butter and mix until crumbled. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, egg, and salt. Mix until combined. Add milk, and mix until combined. Using a spoon, or your hand, drop small pieces of the batter over top of blueberry mixture. It’s supposed to look rustic, so it’s okay to drop randomly. Place on the grill over indirect heat and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the blueberries are soft. Remove from the grill carefully. You can serve hot or cool. Scoop ice cream or whipped cream over the top if desired. Serve with RayLen Vineyards 2017 Riesling.

Hints: Use a good quality grill thermometer and place it right on the grill grate on the indirect heat side of the grill to ensure your grill is running at the right temperature.  I never trust the gauge on top of the grill. It’s giving you the heat at the top of the grill which can vary wildly from the temperature where your food is!

Chef Al Romano is a full-time, assistant professor for the culinary arts program at Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro. The program is one of two North Carolina culinary schools accredited by the American Culinary Federation’s Educational Institute at the Exemplary level.

RayLen Winery is at 3577 US 158, Mocksville.