By Cheryl Radkiewicz
Chatting with Sands Casino Executive Chef Victor Bock is truly one of the highlights for me during the annual Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival. Bock oversees six restaurants and manages over 400 food and beverage employees. I can’t even imagine what his daily routine consists of. He arrived at the Sands after a career which began at the Culinary Institute of America, Accomac Inn, Windows on Steinman Park in Lancaster, Hotel Hershey, Greensboro Country Club, Bent Creek Country Club and Woodstock Inn and Resort. Part of his culinary duties include not only overseeing the restaurants and food services, but also demonstrating his expertise during the annual festival.
This year Chef Bock highlighted some of the most popular dishes served at Emeril’s Fish House. The menu at the Fish House offers a variety of chilled and raw seafood appetizers including Clams on Half, King Crab Legs and Tuna Poke Lettuce Wraps.
Now for the dishes shared by Chef Bock during the event:
Asian BBQ Salmon Poke with Green Onion Pancake with Sesame:
Asian BBQ Salmon:
1/2 lb. wild salmon, cut into half inch cubes
1/2 cup green onions, minced
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
1 tsp. ginger root, minced
2 Tbsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp. lemongrass, minced
1 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
Combine all ingredients and allow to marinate for 1 hour.
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/3 cup sesame oil
1 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 oz. hoisin sauce
1/2 Tbsp. dry chillies or red pepper flake
2 tsp. rice vinegar
Combine all ingredients. Makes approximately 2 cups.
Green Onion Pancakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup minced green onion
1/2 cup and 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot water
1 Tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, to fry
In a large bowl sift flour. Add 1/2 cup and 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot water and stir until the ingredients are blended well. Sprinkle flour over a kneading board or other appropriate kneading surface.
When the dough is still hot, knead the dough for about 3 minutes or until it becomes soft and elastic. Shape dough into a ball and place back in the bowl, covering with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for about 30 minutes. Place dough on lightly floured surface and cut dough into two sections.
While making sure that the dough does not stick to your kneading surface, roll dough into a 14″ circle. Spread 1/2 Tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil on the dough. Next, spread 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. salt.
Finally, Sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped green onions on the dough. Roll dough into sections and make each section into a spiral/snail shape. Flatten spiral with the palm of your hand. Roll it out into a 5″ disk. Repeat with other 3 pieces.
Heat 1 Tbsp. salad oil in a frying pan. Put one of the pancakes in the pan and immediately flip it over to coat the dough with oil evenly. Cover with a lid and cook each side about 3 minutes or until nicely browned. (Makes approx. 2 cups). Serve salmon on top of pancake and top with dressing.
Charred Octopus Salad:
2 cups cooked octopus tentacles
1Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. sliced smoked green olives
2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. celery leaves
1 cup charred cauliflower florets
4 fresh figs, grilled, if possible
2 Tbsp. crumbled Greek feta cheese
2 cups arugula
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red pepper-curry emulsion
In cast iron skillet or grill, char the octopus, approximately 5-8 minutes, remove and hold warm. In a mixing bowl, combine lime zest, lime juice, Dijon mustard, honey. Drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Place red-pepper-curry emulsion on plate.
Combine arugula, olives, figs, cauliflower, and octopus with lime dressing. Arrange on plate and garnish with crumbled feta.
Pan-Seared Red Snapper and Tuna Bolognese:
Pan-Seared Red Snapper:
2 Red Snapper fillets (pin bones removed, skin on, approx. 6-7 oz. each)
4 oz. Ahi Tuna Belly, minced
3 oz. pancetta, coarse grind or fine minced
1 oz. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 cups canned diced tomatoes with juice
3 oz. white wine
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grape tomato confit
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. whole butter or 1 oz. extra virgin olive oil (to finish)
Grilled lemon for garnish
Sear fish fillets in olive oil, skin side down first. Cook 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook 3-4 minutes or until firm. Remove and hold. To saute’ pan, add pancetta. Cook until golden brown. Add garlic, tuna, diced canned tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in grape tomatoes, oregano, basil. Finish with butter.
Arugula Herb Fennel Salad:
2 cups Arugula
1/2 cup thin shaved fennel
1/2 Tbsp. basil leaves
1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Mix all ingredients together and serve with snapper.