January is culinary month in Cayman, with two delicious epicurean extravaganzas; the Cayman Cookout (Jan. 16-19) and Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival (Jan. 26). If you’re just visiting, these events will have you moving to Grand Cayman pronto! If you live here, you are luckier than most, with both events offering ways to tantalise those tastebuds.
Both gourmet events offer guests the opportunity to sample some of Cayman’s best cuisine, all served up by some of the island’s best chefs, culinary influencers, wine and spirit experts, and globally recognised culinary stars.
When you choose The Residences at Seafire as your home, you are not just selecting from the best condos in Grand Cayman, right on Seven Mile Beach, but you are also gaining access to the amenities available just next door, including restaurants run by world-class chefs.
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa’s Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca will be participating at both events, including at the Cayman Cookout’s popular Barefoot Barbecue on Friday, Jan. 18, an extravagant event featuring star-studded chefs such as Eric Ripert, José Andrés, and Emeril Lagasse.
Chef Massimo grew up in Toronto, Canada, as a first generation Italian-Canadian, and has been working with Kimpton Hotels for more than a decade. An award-winning chef, Massimo brings more than 18 years of culinary experience gleaned from working in kitchens across the globe and is an expert at producing innovative dishes infused with local flare. If you can’t attend one of this month’s culinary events, you can enjoy his delectable cuisine at one of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa’s three unique restaurants; Ave, Avecita, and Coccoloba.
However, if you want to enjoy chef Massimo’s cuisine at home, then check out his recipe for wahoo crudo below, which offers a sumptuous taste of the Cayman Islands.
“This appetiser is a great balance of texture and flavour,” Chef Massimo says. “We use impeccably fresh local wahoo and briefly hot smoke the loin. Its delicate texture lends itself so well to the refreshing citrusy dressing and pickled scotch bonnet peppers.”
We promise this dish is so yummy that you won’t be able to get enough of it!
Here’s how to cook it at home.
Wahoo crudo with pickled scotch bonnet pepper, whipped avocado, and citrus
Serves 2-4 people as an appetiser
For the wahoo
1 pound wahoo loin, cleaned and skinless
1 ounce of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Add the oil to a hot sauté pan and allow to slightly smoke. Quickly sear the wahoo on all sides evenly, about 25 to 35 seconds on each side. Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for approximately two hours. Once chilled, slice 1/8-inch thin and place back in the refrigerator.
For the dressing
¼ piece of peeled garlic
½ stick of celery, roughly chopped
4 ounces of canned coconut milk
Handful fresh cilantro
½ small white onion, peeled, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon of chopped freshly peeled ginger
2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped sweet bell pepper
In a food processor or blender add all the ingredients and blend until smooth.
For the pickled scotch bonnet peppers
3 scotch bonnet peppers
4 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons white sugar
Wash the peppers, cut off the stems and remove the seeds. Slice into 1/8-inch pieces. Set aside in a small container. Add all the other ingredients into a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, then allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture over the sliced peppers and allow to stand overnight.
Chef Massimo’s tip: Use latex gloves as the peppers could potentially burn your hands!
For the whipped avocado
1 ripe avocado
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sour cream
In a small food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside in a refrigerator.
To arrange the dish
Pre-prepared sliced Wahoo
Pre-prepared avocado purée
Pre-prepared pickled scotch bonnet peppers
1 orange cut into segments
2 radishes, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
Sprinkle of sea salt
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
On a plate begin to place the avocado purée with a spoon and smear on the dish. Layer on top the sliced wahoo. Top the wahoo with the pickled scotch bonnet peppers, sliced radish, orange segments, lemon zest, olive oil, and sea salt. Enjoy with a chilled glass of white wine and revel in a taste of the Cayman Islands.