Traditional Southern cooking in the United States comes in many unique and distinct styles across various regions, but perhaps no other style of Southern cuisine matches the ingenuity that is the “Floribbean” style of cooking. A mash-up between “Floridian” and “Caribbean,” this style of cooking offers a tropical twist on traditional Southern dishes, combining the best flavors of both worlds with a heavy emphasis on spice, citrus, and seafood. This holiday season, surprise your guests with a taste of tropical Florida no matter where you may be celebrating this year.
Getting the party started is an easy task when serving up an hors d’oeuvre like conch fritters. Conch is a type of marine snail similar in texture and flavor to calamari. Think of a tropical beach, and I guarantee you’ll think of a conch shell! In sunny South Florida, conch is available in every seafood market around, and there are many other ways to prepare this Bahamian favorite. This recipe combines texture and flavor in a way that’ll have everybody coming back for more. Pair with your favorite dip for a more layered flavor.
This Cuban take on a pork roast will have everyone’s mouths watering, and it takes about as long as a turkey to prepare. Cuban dishes are typically very well-seasoned so don’t skimp out on marinating the pork overnight. The longer, the better! The Floridian twist in this recipe comes from the mojo sauce whereas the Cuban influence lies in the mojo marinade. The depth of flavor cooked into the meat paired with the light freshness of the sauce is a combination like anything else. Got leftovers? Shred the pork and make yourself a Cuban sandwich, Florida-style.
No Southern recipe would be complete without grits; although grits are typically served for breakfast, this side dish pairs very well with something as savory as shrimp. Combine the comforts of American hospitality with a spicy tinge of tropical flare for a gastronomic delight. Serve warm for those chilly nights in when you’d rather be on a beach somewhere.
For dessert, a slice of chilled key lime pie is sure to delight even the toughest critic. The uniquely-sweet tartness of the key lime makes it distinctly different from limes one might find in grocery stores or pre-packaged in bottles. To truly appreciate the flavor of a key lime pie, you must do yourself a favor and acquire the real deal — key limes! Steer clear of anything but key limes you’ve juiced yourself or juice that can be traced back to a reputable source.
To be home for the holidays is to share with the ones you love. It is my hope that these recipes inspire conversations about our past and history as Floridians.
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