It would seem like once you get to be an adult, and an adventurous eater at that, new foods would require a passport, extra bag fees and various immunizations. Truth is, that exotic foodie experience is as close as a long weekend trip to Hilton Head Island. Grab your bags and head to the Island for sunny skies and a sampling of the best Lowcountry restaurants and chefs have to offer – no matter if you’re a wine connoisseur, gourmand-in-training or a seasoned foodie. The folks involved with the Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival have given me a peek at the menus for the Great Chef’s of the South Dinners and some of the other events like the Grand Tasting and the public tasting (Winefest). So much deliciousness to taste and so little time to diet!
Chef Sean Walsh of Redfish (with Chef Chaun Bescos of Alexander’s) amongst last year’s tomato crop at Bear Island Farms. You can’t get much more local than this!
I spied a favorite restaurant participating in the Great Chefs dinners lineup and as luck would have it; I had just interviewed the chef, Sean Walsh. Chef Sean is executive chef of Redfish in Hilton Head. Like their sister restaurant, Alexander’s, Redfish is a member of the Fresh on the Menu program and serving locally grown produce and products is a priority at the restaurant. Chef Sean tells me that they are gearing up for a bountiful spring and summer courtesy of the harvest expected from their company-owned property, Bear Island Farms.
Not only that, but Chef Sean added, “Our locally sourced seafood is running great right now. We are serving up local Wahoo as well as shrimp and tuna. We’ve also been using a lot of local greens, like kale and collard greens – very traditional Lowcountry ingredients – prepared simply and in unexpected ways as well.” Chef Sean shared with me that it has been rewarding working with local purveyors and farmers to create true, authentic farm to table food experiences for Redfish patrons.
For his Great Chefs of the South dinner (Thursday, March 8 at 7 pm, Contact the restaurant directly to make your reservation), Chef Sean has planned a stunning 5-course menu loaded with the type of imaginative dishes Redfish has become known for creating. Each tasty course is paired with a Great Estates wine. Here’s his great menu!
- Pan Seared Sea Scallop with fried tofu, pickled cucumbers, yuzu glaze served with Kistler “Les Noisetiers” Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2008
- Deconstructed Niçoise Salad with local tuna, potato, egg, tomato, green beans and black olive purée served with Domaine Serene “Evenstad Reserve” Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2006
- Kobe Brisket Mole with corn and local shrimp cake with fried plantain served Shafer Merlot Napa Valley 2007
- Lamb Chop Confit with foie gras and brie twice baked potato with truffle oil frisée served with Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007
- Grilled Pear with gorgonzola fondue, baby arugula, orange dust, fleur du sel, 25 year barrel aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and chocolate truffles served with Turley Zinfandel “Juvenile” California 2009
If you’ve never tried grits before my advice is to start with the best – such as in this recipe from Redfish!
Chef Sean was also kind enough to share with me (and you) one of his signature Redfish entrees, Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits! This recipe not only uses spicy Chorizo sausage and okra BUT get this: the grits include Boursin cheese. Pass the hymnal and say a prayer because I think I’m in heaven!
Redfish Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits
1 cup stone ground grits
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ lb. pepperjack cheese
¼ lb. Boursin
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 1 ½ hours stirring frequently.
Shrimp with chorizo gravy
3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
2 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined (21-30 ct.)
½ lb. (or links) Spanish chorizo sausage
3 cups demi glace or brown sauce
¼ lb. butter, cold
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Sauté the shrimp and chorizo in the olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes. When the shrimp are approximately half way cooked add the demi glace. Bring to a simmer for approximately 1 minute or until shrimp is cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter until well incorporated.
1 lb. okra
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 cups buttermilk
In a shallow mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Cut the okra into half inch slices and set aside. Soak in buttermilk and toss in the corn meal mixture. Fry at 350˚ until they float to the top and are golden brown for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
To assemble the final dish, serve the grits in a large bowl. Add with a sauté of greens of your choice. Top with the shrimp & chorizo gravy. Garnish with the fried okra. Serves 4.