Tropical Island Dishes
Shrimp-and-Avocado Salad with Mango Dressing
In Middle Quarters, a village on the southern coast of Jamaica, roadside stands serve sweet shrimp simmered in peppery broth. Inspired by this, Bradford Thompson simmers shrimp in a fragrant broth made with lager, chile and fresh ginger, then serves them with avocado and a light mango dressing for a great salad.
Tangy Tomato and Mango Salad
In Jean-Georges Vongerichten's version of a dish that his friend Maya Gurley serves at her St. Bart's restaurant, he dresses plump tomatoes and sweet, juicy mango slices with red wine vinegar, just a little olive oil and plenty of sliced fresh basil.
Coconut Pavlovas with Tropical Fruit
The kiwis and mango that fill these airy, low-fat meringues are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. The low-calorie passion fruit seeds add tartness and intense tropical flavor.
Hearts of Palm Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
The citrusy dressing on this Caribbean-inspired hearts of palm salad is marvelously dense with fresh cilantro, shallots, lemon juice and honey. The oranges here release juice as they sit, so be sure to serve the salad right after you make it.
Tropical Fruit Sundaes
For a fun yet elegant dessert, Daniel Boulud tops an easy, creamy ginger-mascarpone mousse with chopped mangoes and pineapple, raspberries and generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Demand for the Coquito, a Latin take on eggnog, was so great that Carmen the Restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida, now serves the drink year-round, not just during the holidays.
Grilled Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Tropical Fruit
Michelle Bernstein is a big fan of pound cake. She makes hers with lots of butter, then sometimes slathers slices with more butter and sautés them in a heavy skillet. Here, she tops slices of warm grilled cake with a fantastic Mexican-inspired chocolate sauce flavored with cocoa, cinnamon and chile powder.
Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart
Jean-Georges Vongerichten loves this tart from his friend Maya Gurley of Maya's Restaurant in St. Bart's. The soft custard filling and the caramelized shredded coconut topping have the creamy-crunchy texture of a coconut macaroon.
Spicy Lobster-Noodle Salad
This cellophane-noodle salad, with creamy avocados, crunchy peanuts and a chile-honey dressing, is an excellent showcase for Caribbean spiny lobsters. Also known as rock lobsters, they are sweet but can be slightly dense. This recipe uses Maine lobsters; they're more tender than spiny lobsters—and just as delicious.
A swizzle is an icy drink named for the tool used to mix it, traditionally fashioned out of a woody stem. The base for this swizzle is rhum agricole, made from fresh cane juice in the French-speaking Caribbean islands.