Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Carolina Shrimp with Orange-Mint Dipping Sauce

Courtesy of Outer Banks Epicurean

Vietnamese Shrimp Rolls

1 pound Carolina shrimp (“greentails”), peeled and deveined
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled, minced and partially smashed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced
crushed red pepper to taste, approx 1/2 teaspoon
salt to taste, approx 1/2 teaspoon
6 spring roll rice wrappers
1 Napa cabbage, grated
3 green onions, chopped, use white and some of the green
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons naturally brewed soy sauce
generous dash sesame oil
squeeze of fresh orange

Sauté shrimp in salted butter, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper, approximately three minutes. Cool slightly on plate. Toss all other ingredients together in a large bowl, add shrimp, adjust seasonings to taste and set aside while soaking rice wrappers in warm water, 1-2 minutes. Lay one wrapper at a time on a clean cutting board and place approximately 1/2 cup of filling in the center; tuck in sides and roll up ends. Place tucked-side down and cut in the center, on a diagonal. Serve on a plate with one half propped on the other, and orange-mint dipping sauce on the side.

Orange-Mint Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup honey (use Outer Banks Honey*, if possible)
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (prefer Nakano natural)
3 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoon naturally brewed soy sauce (prefer Kikkoman organic brewed)
2 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
1 teaspoon natural sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
juice of 3 oranges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Combine all ingredients. Adjust to taste.

*Note: Outer Banks Honey comes from beekeeper Tracy Helton’s hives in Wanchese; it can be found at Food Lion stores throughout the Outer Banks.

Simple Baked Rockfish, Mushroom, Bacon, Tomato Sauté and Honeyed Root Vegetables and Apples

Courtesy of Outer Banks Epicurean

Simple Baked Rockfish

1/4 pound butter
1 whole rockfish, 3 to 3-1/2 pounds, gutted, cleaned and scaled*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 slices bacon
2 to 3 lemons, cut into wedges
baking vegetables, cook’s choice: small potatoes, celery, carrot, onion
3 sprigs each, rosemary and thyme

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or oil a baking dish large enough to hold rockfish with basting juices. Dry rockfish thoroughly inside and out.

Sprinkle inside of fish with salt and pepper and lemon and dot with butter. Place fish on its side in baking dish. Score fish in several places. Lay strips of bacon inside scored fish.

Add whole, small potatoes, chunks of celery, carrot, onion and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. (May omit potatoes if you choose to add the sweet-potato side; recipe below.)

Bake for about 45 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Cover dish for the first 30 minutes, then uncover to finish.

Remove rockfish to a platter and spoon veggies and juices around. This is great served family-style.

Serves six to eight.

*Note: Rockfish is also called striped bass, or just “striper”; it’s best fished in cool weather in the Outer Banks. Expect to pay $8-$10/pound retailbut, as one cook pointed out, “If you just go out there under the bridge, it’s free!”

Mushroom, Bacon, Tomato Sauté

Use enough ingredients to feed as many people as you have and adjust seasonings to taste.

Chop bacon and sauté, then remove bacon and set aside. Pour off fat leaving enough to coat pan. Sauté together a sprig of fresh rosemary, sliced onion, chopped shallot and sliced mushrooms until onions brown. Add chopped parsley and scallions, salt, pepper, lemon juice, grape tomatoes and reserved bacon. Cook just until tomatoes are heated through. Serve.

Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Granny Smith Apple Mash

Use enough ingredients to feed as many people as you have and adjust seasonings to taste.

Peel and cube equal parts sweet potatoes, parsnips and apples. Boil potatoes and parsnips together until nearly tender. Add apples and continue cooking until apples are crisp-tender. Strain and return to pan. Add butter, honey (Outer Banks honey if possible, carried at local Food Lions), salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Stir gently (should remain very chunky) and serve.

Coastal Provisions’ Chocolate Pavé

Courtesy of Dan Lewis

The word “pavé” is French for paving stone, or brick, which resembles the shape of this dessert. Chef Lewis’s recipe is intended for commercial sale (4 pounds of butter, 36 eggs, etc.). We’ve divided it by three, but it will still make plenty to share with neighbors. Divide further, if you wish.

3 3/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 pounds unsalted butter
12 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup brandy

Chop chocolate with serrated knife into chunks. Heat over double-boiler with butter until thoroughly melted. Whip yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar and 2/3 cup of the brandy. Whip whites with remaining 1/3 of sugar to medium peaks. Remove chocolate from heat. Mix in yolks. Fold in egg whites. Pour into loaf/terrine molds. Chill. Remove loaf from pans and slice to serve.

Optional: Amy Huggins of Outer Banks Epicurean serves Coastal Provisions’ pavé as a sweet pick-me-up in her cooking classes. She sprinkles it lightly with her own local sea salt just before serving. Her easy salt-mining method is as follows: Take a clean bucket down to the ocean, fill when water is calm to minimize sand, then pour contents into another clean container while straining off any solids. Boil down water until only salt is left. One gallon of water will yield approximately 1/4 cup sea salt.