Local Dish Season 2 AThe Crows Nest Steve Harner Owner Matt Green ManagerCrows Nest

Two dishes, equally mouth-watering and savory, were on the Crow’s Nest menu for Forks & Corks 2016: braised beef brisket, and stone crab mac and cheese.

With the latter, chefs at the Venice eatery incorporated a mix of fresh seafood, hearty pasta, and creamy cheese flavors that generated instant wows and raves.

“Everyone loves mac and cheese,” says restaurateur Steve Harner, “especially when you add a little local stone crab meat to it.”


1 pound orzo pasta
4 cups milk
¼ pound salted butter, solid
¼ cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces Parmesan cheese
½ cup coarse Japanese breadcrumbs
1 pound medium stone crab slaw meat
Cook the orzo pasta until it is al dente and set it aside. In a saucepot over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Combine the roux with the simmering milk and bring it back to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stone crab claw meat to the milk and simmer for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheeses, pasta and sauce to taste, and add a pinch of salt. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish, top with panko bread crumbs, and place it in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes.

Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant |1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice | 941-484-9551 |crowsnest-venice.com

Author:  Abby Weingarten

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SKOB 18 17 SmallSiesta Key Oyster Bar Beth Keith Cipielewski Ownersskob logo

Seasonal, fresh and savory, the sesame-seared wahoo from Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB) was one of the standout seafood dishes at Forks & Corks 2016.

“The idea was to use more local and seasonal products,” says SKOB chef Aaron Chavarria, who combined the wahoo with roasted root vegetables and orange-white balsamic vinaigrette. “Fall/winter is one of the most amazing times to play with food, and it is the time when Florida is blooming with exquisite, colorful root vegetables.”


1 pound fresh, local wahoo (cut into 5-ounce pieces)
2 ounces black sesame seeds
2 ounces white sesame seeds
1 lemon (zest only)
1 lime (zest only
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine the wahoo with the remaining ingredients to form a crust, and sear in a hot pan.
For the herb oil to go with the root vegetables:
12 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped 
2 ounces fresh garlic, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cut 3 ounces of each of the following root vegetables into quarter-inch pieces: red beets, yellow beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, turnips and parsnips. Mix the herb oil ingredients with the vegetables and roast for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces white balsamic vinegar
1 ounce fresh shallots
½ teaspoon fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Place the ingredients in a blender and serve with the final dish. 

Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB) | 5238 Ocean Boulevard, Sarasota | 941-346-5443 | skob.com

Photo Courtesy of www.dinesarasota.com

Author:  Abby Weingarten


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Salute AW SmallSalute Chef Laszlo Co OwnerSalute            

A traditional and beloved Italian recipe, the Agnolotti from Salute! has been one of Laszlo Bevardi’s go-to pasta dishes for decades.

It was a no-brainer for Bevardi to select this favorite for Forks & Corks 2016, and to serve it alongside some fresh Bruschetta Pomodoro.

“The Agnolotti is a simple yet delicious and light pasta dish. I have been making this in restaurants for over 20 years. My costumers call it ‘cheesy heaven,’” says Bevardi, who serves as both the chef and owner of Salute! in downtown Sarasota. “It is a half-moon-shaped pasta filled with fresh ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and chopped fresh spinach. The key is to prepare a very thin and light pasta, and to use high-quality ingredients for the filling. Diners appreciate this classic dish when it is done right.”


Ingredients for the filling:
¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup blanched spinach, chopped
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Pinch of nutmeg      
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the pasta dough:
3½ + ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the sauce:
½ quart heavy cream
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup blanched spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Make a mound of flour on a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and add the eggs and olive oil. Using a fork, incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. Keep the well shape as you expand. When the dough comes together, start kneading it with both hands. Flour the cutting board as you knead the dough three or four times. Continue to knead until the dough is elastic and not sticky (about 10 to 15 minutes). Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. To make the filling, combine the ingredients and refrigerate. To make the agnolotti, roll out the pasta with a floured rolling pin. With a cookie cutter, cut the pasta into 5-inch rounds. Place a small amount of filling in the center of each of the pasta rounds. Brush the edge of each pasta piece with a beaten egg and fold it into a half-moon-shaped agnolotti. Pinch the pasta edge with your fingers to make a good seal. To cook the pasta, bring six quarts of water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of salt and oil. Boil the pasta for three minutes. In a heavy skillet, bring the heavy cream to a boil, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and salt and pepper. Reduce the cream by one-third. Add the spinach and agnolotti. Coat the pasta with the cream sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve.

Salute!:| 23 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota | 941-365-1020 | salutesarasota.com

Author: Abby Weingarten

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cafe leurope 18 15 smallCafe LEurope Betsie Coolidge OwnerCafe LEurope Logo

One of Café L’Europe’s summer staples, the Shrimp and Lobster “Sunflower” Salad on a Belgian Endive is a bestseller at the St. Armands Circle eatery.

In January, it was a crowd favorite at Forks & Corks 2016, just as restaurateur Betsie Coolidge expected. The recipe wows Café L’Europe patrons regularly.

This dish is delicious, crisp, luscious and a true taste of luxury,” Coolidge says. “Nestled on a bed of crushed ice, the Belgian endive is filled with perfect Maine lobster and fresh gulf shrimp, and seasoned to perfection.”

The salad recipe includes lobster meat (with claw pieces), diced celery, fresh lemon juice and zest, and house-made mayonnaise. It is a refreshing blend for warm-weather dining. And, of course, it has plenty of aesthetic appeal.

Made to look like a large chrysanthemum, with the filling in the center and the endive serving as ‘petals,’ this is a striking display,” Coolidge says.

Café L’Europe | 431 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota | 941-388-4415 | cafeleurope.net

Author: Abby Weingarten

Photo Courtesy of www.dinesarasota.com

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cafe venice SmallCafeVenice Kay Ann Kropac ownerCafe Venice

The Pot Roast from Café Venice was a natural choice for a Forks & Corks 2016 dish, as it is a frequently requested menu staple at the restaurant/wine bar.

A savory, tender, juicy entrée, the Pot Roast is “one of our guest favorites, made with lots of love and red wine,” says restaurateur Kay Kropac.

The meat is braised in red wine with carrots, onions, garlic and celery, as well as in-house-roasted tomatoes. Served with chasseur sauce made from the braising juices, house-made herb-garlic mashed potatoes and a garlic sautéed green bean medley, the Pot Roast has a gourmet comfort food flavor that entices tasters.

“We chose this dish for Forks & Corks this year due to its popularity with our regular guests here,” Kropac says. “It reminds our guests of good home cooking in a causal, fine-dining atmosphere.”

           Author: Abby Weingarten

    Photo Courtesy of www.dinesarasota.com

    Café Venice Restaurant and Wine Bar|116 W. Venice Ave., Venice| 941-484-1855cafeveniceontheisland.com

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