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Best Gulf Coast Recipes - Flori-Mex, the Fusion On the Move
A Trip Around the Gulf of Mexico
Tex-Mex or South Texas cuisine started around the Rio Grande River. Residents of Texas picked up some cooking techniques and new ingredients from Mexican neighbors across the river.They absorbed some traditions from the old Aztec and Mayan cuisines and agri-crops as well as those from local Native American Nations and created a fusion cuisine that exploded into popularity around the 1940s.
The idea of fusion cuisine around the Rio Grande moved into neighboring states and gathered additional ingredients, techniques, and versions of recipes in Louisiana (especially New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, all along the Gulf Coast. In Florida, the unique varieties can be called Flori-Mex.
Many tasty dishes combining Spanish cuisine with local ingredients began in Florida at St. Augustine, the oldest port city in the lower 48 States since 1565, but first sited in 1513 by the famous Ponce de Leon. Food and culinary techniques developed at the mission in the settlement, combining ideas and items brought by Spanish settlers in Mexico from among Native Americans/Native Mexicans as well Native Americans in Florida. Many of these fusion dishes include seafoods of different varieties in place of beef, pork, and chicken.
The St. Augustine Mission -- Mission of Nombre de Dios & Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche
Flori-Mex Shrimp Salad
- 1 Tbp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Cup chopped Spanish onion
- 1/4 Cup chopped red onion
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced
- 2 small red chillies, seeded and minced (or 2-3 tsp hot sauce)
- 1/4 Cup orange juice
- 2 tsp Lime juice
- 1/3 Cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Cups cooked shrimp
- 1/2 Cup or more of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 Ripe avocado, diced into small cubes
- 2 cups shredded mixed lettuces
- Lite sour cream
- Cilantro sprigs for garnish.
- In a large bowl, place cooked shrimp with the olive oil, onions, garlic, cilantro, hot sauce, juices, salt and pepper; stir well.
- Let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to meld flavors.
- Place shredded lettuces on small serving plates.
- Scoop shrimp salad onto the beds of lettuce.
- Sprinkle avocado dice and shredded cheese over the top the shrimp mixture on each plate.
- Spoon a dollop of sour cream on top of each salad and garnish with a spring of cilantro. Provide a bottle of hot sauce at the table.
Garbanza Pepper Soup
- 1 Pound of beef chuck cut into cubes
- 1/4 Cup vegetable or olive oil
- 1 Large Spanish onion, chopped coarse
- 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Green bell pepper, diced
- 2 red chili peppers, seeded and diced (or 1 Tbsp hot sauce)
- 1 Can garbanza beans and liquid
- 5 Cups water (I use spring water)
- 1 Tbp salt
- 1/2 tsp powdered cumin
- 1 head of cabbage, shredded coarsely
- Garnish - see Instructons.
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the aromatics: onion, garlic and peppers. Cook and stir 8-10 minutes until light brown and fragrant.
- Add garbanzas and liquid, water, salt, and cumin and simer to gently bubbling for about 90 minutes.
- Add cabbage and push into liquid to cook for 10-12 minutes more, until crisp-tender.
- Serve in bowls with bread on the side. You may want to drop some shredded Monterey Jack cheese on the top of the hot soup and let it melt.
Spicy Snapper and Tomatoes
- 1/4 Cup vegetable or olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large Spanish onion, chooped coarse
- 1 Green or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 4 Large tomatoes, chopped - save the juice.
- 1 tsp Crushed red chillies or 2 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp Cumin powder, 1/2 tsp Oregano, and 1/4 tsp Sage
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Cup fish stock or dry white wine, or use half a cup of each.
- 2 tsp Turbinado or raw sugar or stevia
- 6 filets of red snapper
- Cooked rice.
- Place a deep skillet or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil, and heat it for 1 minute.
- Add the aromatics: garlic, onion and green pepper cook about 10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and captured juice, all the spices, red peppers, stock and/or wine, and cook 20 minutes.
- Taste and if overly tart, add the sugar.
- Place fish fillets carefully onto the sauce and cook for 10 minutes or until donw.
- Serve fish and sauce over wild, brown, or white rice.
Flori-Mex Ingredient Information
Sausage and Rice
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 links of peppered sausage or chorizo
- 10 green onions, minced - use all of the whites and most of the greens.
- 1/4 tsp saffron powder (or crushed) in 1 Tbsp hot water, or use annatto coloring
- 6 Cups water
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tsp Crushed red chillies - more if you like more "heat"
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Cups uncooked white rice
- Hot sauce at the table for adding heat & flavor
- In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil and then add onions and sausages.
- Brown onions and sausages about 10 minutes.
- Add saffron dissolved in water (or use annatto), stir.
- Add Bay leaves, peppers, salt, and 6 cups water and increase heat so that the mixture comes to a full rolling boil
- Reduce heat to medium, stir in rice, and cook partially covered for 30 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
- Stir through the pot once, leave the lid completely off and cook another 10 minutes or until water is gone - keep an eye on it so it does not burn.
- Serve with dark bread and provide hot sauce.