How To Give American Fare An Island Flair
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According to Rick Crossland, executive chef for Bahama Breeze restaurants and lead judge for the Caribbean Culinary Federation, “Island cuisine features bold but not overpowering flavors, many of which are very familiar to Americans, including spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, herbs like cilantro and basil and fruits like coconut and mango.”

A leader in this trend is the company Crossland works for, Bahama Breeze-part of Darden Restaurants, which also owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52. With lots of fresh seafood, distinctive chicken dishes and flame-grilled steaks, the 32 restaurants feature fresh ingredients indigenous to the islands. “Bahama Breeze really tries to bring the freshness and variety of the Caribbean to American dining,” says Crossland. “The region’s many cultural influences have led to new ways of using foods we’re all familiar with, becoming what we now refer to as Caribbean cuisine.”

Recently introduced items include Breeze Wood-Grilled Chicken Breast; Grilled Chicken Tostada; Spinach Dip and Island Chips; Lobster and Shrimp Pasta; and a new fresh fish sheet offering guests a choice of tilapia, salmon, mahi-mahi and more, with preparations including Almond-Crusted with lemon butter sauce, Havana with Latin caper-garlic tomato sauce and Simply Grilled with lemon-garlic-herb butter.

Here’s a recipe to add island flair to your family’s menu:

Breeze Wood-Grilled Chicken Breast With Orange Glaze and Citrus Butter Sauce

(Serves 2)

2 chicken breasts (8 oz, boneless, skinless)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes

1/2 cup orange glaze

1/2 cup citrus butter sauce

Lightly coat each chicken breast on both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat a char-grill to medium heat, adding wood chips just prior to placing the chicken on the grill, or add wood chips to a charcoal grill. Grill for 6 to 7 minutes per side, flipping it over twice during the grilling process. The chicken is done when it registers 165

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