Braised Grouper Cheeks with Crabmeat Risotto, Roasted Cipollini Onion and Mango Caviar Ben Fidelak Chef Ben Fidelak's passion for cooking was sparked at an early age while working as a line cook in his father's restaurant. He opened Maison Louisiane Catering in the fall of 2001. Since then, he has honed his culinary focus, creating signature dishes using inspiration from various cultures, while infusing a Southern flair. He is... Ingredients Crab Stock 3 lbs. gumbo crabs 2 gal. water 3 medium onions, halved 8 ribs celery 4 carrots 1 Tbsp. pepper 1 Tbsp. salt 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper Marinated Grouper Juice from 4 blood oranges Juice from 4 navel oranges 1 1/2 cups walnut oil 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper 2 shallots, finely diced 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic 1/2 tsp. oregano 1/4 cup agave honey 2 Tbsp. Sriracha 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 10 grouper cheeks Slurry 1 Tbsp. corn starch 3 Tbsp. water 1 Tbsp. walnut oil (for cast iron pan) Crabmeat Risotto 2 cups jumbo lump crabmeat 8 cups crab stock 3 cups green onions, chopped 1 3/4 cups spinach, chopped 1/2 cup garlic, diced 3/4 cup sage, chopped 3/4 cup sunflower sprout leaves 1/2 cup cashews, chopped 1 tsp. granulated garlic 1 tsp. black pepper Juice of 1 lemon 3 Tbsp. butter 2 cups Arborio rice Mango Caviar 2 mangoes, peeled and sliced 2 cups mango nectar 1 cup mango liqueur 2 Tbsp. sugar 0.5 % calcium chloride solution Sodium Alginate (by weight) Cipollini Onions 5 Cipollini onions 3 Tbsp. almond oil 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt Chipotle Mango Sauce 3 mangoes, peeled and sliced 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped Juice from 1 lime 3/4 cup mango liqueur Endive 5 purple endives Directions Crab Stock Combine all ingredients in large stock pot and simmer for about 1 hour. Drain liquid through a colander and reserve. Marinated Grouper and Slurry Combine all marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. Add grouper cheeks and occasionally baste while marinating for 30 – 40 minutes. Preheat a sauté pan and a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add grouper cheeks and braising liquid to first pan and cook for approximately 2 -3 minutes per side, basting occasionally. Add walnut oil to the cast iron pan and transfer cheeks, cooking for 30 seconds per side or until slightly browned. Reduce heat on braising liquid and add slurry. Mix thoroughly, reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Crabmeat Risotto In a large pot, heat crab stock to a simmer. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and sauté garlic until just starting to brown. Add 2 cups of green onion, 1/2 cup of sage, 1/2 cup sunflower sprout leave, and 1 cup spinach. Reserve remaining greens to be added later. Sauté until all greens are wilted, approximately 5 – 6 minutes. Add cashews and rice, 2 cups hot crab stock until mixture is covered. Simmer, stirring almost constantly until liquid is almost all absorbed, add more stock and repeat. Add granulated garlic and pepper. Continue adding crab stock, simmering and stirring until nearly desired consistency is reached. Risotto should be creamy and soft. Add remaining greens and fold in crab meat and lemon juice. Add 1/4 cup crab stock and gently stir. Mango Caviar Combine mangoes, nectar, sugar, and liqueur in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Remove and weigh. Calculate 0.5 % sodium alginate solution. (E.g. if you have 500g mango mixture, you will use 2.5g sodium alginate). Return mixture to blender and add sodium alginate slowly, while mixing. In a separate bowl, make a 0.5 % calcium chloride solution. Mix with blender and let stand. Using a caviar maker, add mango mixture to calcium bath. After about 2 minutes, remove caviar and rinse in a bowl of clean water. Cipollini Onions Peel onions and cut off top (not root end). Turnover and slice in tiny wedges from bottom to top, leaving the root intact. Flip over, drizzle with almond oil and roast at 350°F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with salt (onion should have opened like a flower while roasting). Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Broil 2- 3 minutes or until tips of onions start to char. Chipotle Mango Sauce In a blender, combine all ingredients and mix on high until smooth. Transfer to small sauce pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes. Endive Place 5 purple endives in a 200°F oven for approximately 15 minutes (they should not be warm, not wilted).To serve, plate some risotto and top with grouper. Garnish with mango caviar, onion, mango sauce, and endive. Show off your culinary skills. Share pictures of your finished dish on social media and tag them with #LouisianaSeafood!